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'Straight Outta Compton': Moviegoers see a painful past, but a happy ending

Daletta Scott and her two teenage nieces posed with a towering "Straight Outta Compton" movie poster wearing matching T-shirts that mirrored the poster at an early screening Thursday night in Baldwin Hills.

For Scott, 60, the movie was like reliving a painful past with a happy ending.

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Scott said the movie connected the dots for two generations and stayed true to the violence and despair that helped launch the rap of N.W.A in Compton in the 1980s.

"I lived through all of this," said Scott, 60, who lives in the Crenshaw District. "It was great to relive how L.A. was and to see how strong it is."

But to her two nieces, the tale about the iconic rap group's rise to fame was a history lesson.

"N.W.A is new to me," said 15-year-old Laura Chaires, a student at Washington Prep High School.  "I didn't even know what the name meant until watching the movie."

Young and older moviegoers showed up for the screening Thursday at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

Amid heavy marketing of the movie, Compton officials have been doing some counter-marketing of their own. They have used the Twitter hashtag #visionforcompton to promote articles and other items that focus on the positive changes they see the city making. The closing credits of the movie contain a link to www.comptonup.org, which talks about how different the new Compton is from the old Compton.

"There's more to the City of Compton than its worldwide reputation as the 'home of gangsta rap,'" the website states. "Its struggles with violence, gangs and poverty have painted the once great city as the icon of 'inner city urban chaos.' Welcome to the Compton of today and the strides that are being made to return Compton to the beautiful, thriving suburban city it once was."

Last week, Dr. Dre announced that the proceeds from his latest album, "Compton: A Soundtrack," will go toward the building of a performing arts center for the city's youth.

Twitter: @angeljennings

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