Tupac Amaru Shakur immersed in the culture of the African American urban class at an early age surrounded by economic struggle, political influence and incarceration. Tupac was born in 1971 and raised in poor inner-city neighborhoods in New York. Tupac’s parents Afeni Shakur and Billy Garland were prominent members of the Black Panther party. Afeni was acquitted on more than 150 charges of conspiracy against the U. S. overnment but later became addicted to crack cocaine. His godfather was a high ranking Black Panther who was convicted of murder during a robbery and his stepfather spent four years at large on the FBI’s Ten Mosted Wanted list for having helped his sister escape from a New Jersey penitentiary. Tupac’s mother encouraged him to develop his creative and expressive capabilities by enrolling him in drama school at the age of twelve.
Thus, from early on Tupac was taught to succeed in two different worlds by learning the language of the “hood”, its religiosity, and its culture of survival and struggle along with the intellect verse from formal schooling in the creative arts and print poetry which were the norms. In 1985, his mother moved him to Baltimore, Maryland to escape the poverty and difficulties of New York and enrolled him in the Baltimore School for the Performing Arts, where he continued the performance education he began in New York.
Tupac’s outlook was affected by the increasing hopelessness and worsening conditions in America’s inner cities and learned to believe that racism and economic discrimination against the blacks contributed to the poverty. He learned to blame the white race along with the police for these conditions thus developing a leading voice for the urban poor with concerns such as gang violence and challenges single mothers face.
He later moved to California and articulated these strong feelings and emotions into words of poetry and black protest music impacting rap music, hip-hop and black culture A high school dropout, Shakur was an avid reader, familiarizing himself with the work of many social theorists, surprising many who knew him only as a rapper. In the early 90’s, Shakur became self-destructive and was arrested a number of times for assault and various shootings.
On the evening before Shakur was convicted of sexual abuse, he was shot in the lobby in a recording studio in Manhattan blaming it on east coast recording artist Biggie Smalls believing that he had prior knowledge of the shooting and didn’t warn him. Following the shooting, Shakur was released from prison early after an appeal financed by record label Death Row Records in exchange to release three albums under that label helped spark the East Coast-West Coast rivalry. Six months later Smalls was shot and killed.
White and black Americans viewed Shakur differently. Some whites as any people viewed him as a thug gangster due to his legal issues along with some of his lyrics displaying his hate toward white people and the killing of white people. However, these lyrics were directed to racist white people. Half his fans were white and he loved them because he knew that they were not racists. All blacks loved him because he was all about empowerment and recognition for black people.
Tupac hated anyone who disliked blacks because he was fighting for equality. He loved every race as long as they were respectful of each other. Tupac Shakur was not a victim of society. He turned himself into a thug . He had means and opportunities as a young adult to understand the path he should choose and the consequences for the wrong choices. Your life is what you make of it. Wouldn’t we all like to use that excuse? Could Tupac Shakur’s death have been prevented? I am uncertain that he is in fact dead.
It is possible as many have asked that he faked his own death such as the Witness Protection Program would do for his safety after several attempts made on his life. For example, he had no life insurance policies as possibly not to engage in insurance fraud and no will. He had the connections through his mother’s political influences to receive plastic surgeries. . In addition, Shakur replaced words in his writings with symbols. He always rapped about dying and being reincarnated as a bigger and better improvement. Maybe he really is reborn again right now among us “unrecognizable “ as Tupac?