A Change of Heart About Rap Artist Tupac Shakur
Lost in Thought
East Harlem Graffitti
Resurrection: The Movie
The Naked Truth
Recently, I was thumbing through premium movie channels and came across the movie documentary, "Tupac: Resurrection".
I still don't know why in the heck that particular movie made me pause.
I have always been far removed from inner-city African American culture, or the gang phenomenon, but I suppose it was just curiosity about the mystique of a young man murdered whom I never knew about other than his "Gangsta Rapper" lifestyle, which, by the way, I really knew nothing of either.
1. I am caucasian
2. I am female
3. I am old school
The idea of rap music has never appealed to me.
I've always viewed this kind of music as thug-like culture, and a bad influence on young people growing up in the United States. To me, the music glorified gangs, criminal behavior, a demeaning attitude towards women, and well ... just degenerative.
There I sat, watching a documentary about Tupac Shakur.
The Pause Button
As I began to watch the documentary, I suddenly became intrigued with the filmmaker, Lauren Lazin and her ability to identify with the African American music legend. I found it incredible that this caucasian female who from the very beginning, it was so obvious that she was outside of her cultural realm, yet somehow she could reverently bring this young man back to life through personal interviews, news clips, videos, and personal accounts from close relations.
A New Found Discipline
~ Tupac Shakur
“I believe that everything that you do bad comes back to you. So everything that I do that's bad, I'm going to suffer from it. But in my mind, I believe what I'm doing is right. So I feel like I'm going to heaven.”
The Turning Point
For me, I suppose the turning point in the movie was after Shakur goes to jail, and upon his release he explains himself through an interview about how life in jail had changed him spiritually. The list of classic and philosophical books that he read while serving time was very impressive, especially Sun Tzu's "the Art of War".
Now I could relate with Tupac Shakur.
He was starting to speak my language
~ Tupac Shakur
"If you walked by a street and you was walking a concrete and you saw a rose growing from concrete, even if it had messed up petals and it was a little to the side you would marvel at just seeing a rose grow through concrete. So way is it that when you see some ghetto kid grow out of the dirtiest circumstance and he can talk and he can sit across the room and make you cry, make you laugh, all you can talk about is my dirty rose, my dirty stems and how am leaning crooked to the side, u can’t even see that I’ve come up from out of that."
During his interview, Tupac openly admits that he had been wrong in his thinking, yet still explains why he was the way in which he portrayed himself. The use of the 'Gangsta' image he personified was a means to relate and communicate with troubled black youth.
I found it very touching when he spoke of his mother, the love in which he felt for her, and the need to protect her from criticism. I felt relief in knowing that he found a way to reach out to his absent father, and to make amends before his untimely death.
After watching the documentary, I realized here is a young man who learned a valuable lesson in prison, whose heart had changed, but because of the image he had already created, he had to go back to that glorified image, and continue. He was trapped in his own personification of the Gansta image, and had to go along to keep up with the business of making music and staying alive in the industry.
Sadly, one thing that ticked in the back of his mind was his life's time clock. Tupac had a spiritual premonition that his life was coming to an end. Life did end in Las Vegas, 1996.
I am still not a fan of Gansta rap.
However, I have come to respect a man whom I never knew or cared for, yet I admit, because of the cultural difference from my own caucasian heritage. Now, I do better understand the plight of the young African American man, and how much Tupac tried to relate to his own people. Though I think he may have misguided at times, his intentions were good.
Unfortunately for some, this is the part where I am going to freak you out.
After watching the documentary, I went to bed thinking about that young man's sad and short life, and how I had misjudged another human being based on appearance. Foully ashamed, and humbled by my own shortcoming, I fell into a dream-like state. It wasn't long before I sensed something in my presence, and then awoke. Floating in a transcendental state beside me was an African American male spirit, watching intensely, and then upon my recognition, the anomaly dissipated into thin air.
I gasped sitting upright, and not because I was afraid.
Seeing spirits happens to me all the time, and so it was no surprise, but can you imagine my shock when I realized WHOSE soul it was that had visited me. Dead or alive (as some would suggest), he and I had a meeting of the minds, which was entirely unexpected, but necessary.
Tupac had it right.
It's all about love and acceptance.
Soul Train Awards
Best Rap Album ( Me Against the World)
American Music Awards
Favorite Rap/Hip-hop Artist
Soul Train Awards
R&B/Soul or Rap Album of the Year (All Eyes On Me)
ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards
Top Soundtrack Song of the Year (Runnin/Dyin to Live)
Rio De Janeiro Graffitti
Who do You Think Shot and Killed Tupac Shakur?
From the beginning of this Hub, I have been very open and honest about my thoughts and feelings.
Am I racist for saying that I am so far removed from African American inner-city culture?
No, I personally don't think so.
Again, I think honesty is the key here.
Perhaps instead, I have been guilty of being ignorant about culture, not wanting, nor taking the time to understand a different perspective, but then with age comes wisdom, and an underlying need to rectify what we do not understand.
If I had a chance to speak to Tupac's parents, I would express to them the feeling of love and acceptance, which he projected to me in my brief spiritual encounter.
Finding love was a goal in his life ...
and also his ultimate sacrifice.
Tupac Amaru Shakur (legal name - Lesane Parish Crooks) was born June 16th, 1971 in East Harlem of New York City. At a young age, he devoted his life's work toward becoming one of the best-selling music artists in the world. The son of parents who belonged to the Black Panther movement of the 1960s his life revolved around inner-city strife. Though he found fame and fortune, Shakur's life seemed to swirl in gang-related violence.
After a stint in jail, the rapper found his true identity. Delving into classical literature, he emulated the thought of philosophical minds such as Sun Tzu and Maya Angelou. Upon his release from prison, Tupac tried to re-hone his Gansta image with spiritual enlightenment up until his unfortunate and mysterious death in 1996. Since then, the deceased rapper's music still thrives, and his controversial persona has taken on legendary heights.