“Some people say I was a thug and a gangster; other people remember me as a poet and a born leader. But I’m saying to you, measure a man by his actions fully, through his whole life, from the beginning to the end.” -Tupac Shakur
Today would have been Tupac’s 47th birthday (June 16, 1971- September 13, 1996). The life of Tupac and the legacy that he left behind is a series of ups and downs but also a powerful testament of what it means to be an unapologetically Black and successful man from the ghetto in America. Tupac’s success had a lot to do with his candid analysis and understanding of society that he developed at a young age.
The way he illustrated the pains of inner city youth helped me to understand my own experiences and the things I had seen growing up within the context of critical race and ethnic studies.
Tupac is a product of the struggle no doubt. The late Afeni Shakur who was apart of the Black Panther Party, was pregnant with Tupac while imprisoned on conspiracy charges. She represented herself and was able to get the charges dropped against her and other members of the Black Panther Party, known famously as the Panther 21 trial.
“My mother was pregnant with me while she was in prison. She was her own attorney, never been to law school. She was facing 300 and something odd years. One black woman, pregnant, beat the case. That just goes to show you the strength of a black woman and the strength of the oppressed.”
Tupac would go on to achieve tremendous commercial success with his music as well as play various movie roles. Although he was a complicated figure, there is no denying this man was a brilliant writer and storyteller, accomplishing so much before he was killed at 25. Not to mention surviving a previous attempt on his life and suffering multiple gun shot wounds before his death.
It is something about the police never solving Tupac’s murder, that is definitely unsettling.
To the ghetto’s martyr, you are appreciated.
“They telling me to don’t curse, go to college. No fuck that. We’ve had colleges for a while now and it’s still Brenda’s out there and niggas is still trapped. And it gets me irked, because I understand that it is never going to stop. It’s not going to stop, until we stop it.”