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A Change of Heart About Rap Artist Tupac Shakur

Updated on August 5, 2014

Lost in Thought

Illuminated Sketch of Tupac Shakur
Illuminated Sketch of Tupac Shakur | Source

East Harlem Graffitti

Graffiti of Tupac in East Harlem, New York City
Graffiti of Tupac in East Harlem, New York City | Source

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

Sun Tzu's The Art of War
Sun Tzu's The Art of War | Source

~ 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

Mother's Perspective

~ 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."

Father's Perspective

An Understanding

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.

Spiritual Perspective

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.

In Memoriam

Drawing Tupac by Gringolivier
Drawing Tupac by Gringolivier | Source

Artist Recognition

Year
Awards Ceremony
Accolade
1996
Soul Train Awards
Best Rap Album ( Me Against the World)
1997
American Music Awards
Favorite Rap/Hip-hop Artist
1996
Soul Train Awards
R&B/Soul or Rap Album of the Year (All Eyes On Me)
2005
ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards
Top Soundtrack Song of the Year (Runnin/Dyin to Live)

Rio De Janeiro Graffitti

Graffiti of Tuapc in Ipanema, Rio De Janeiro
Graffiti of Tuapc in Ipanema, Rio De Janeiro | Source

Who do You Think Shot and Killed Tupac Shakur?

See results

Afterward Thoughts

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.

Biography Short

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.

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Resurrected

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  • ziyena profile image
    Author

    ziyena 3 years ago from Southern Colorado

    Thanks R.Q. for your redeeming thoughts.

    Definitely a lesson learned.

    Z

  • Romeos Quill profile image

    Romeos Quill 3 years ago from Lincolnshire, England

    Fascinating. I guess it's like he said himself:-

    " Only God can judge me."

    To break away from a violent upbringing, and all of the entrenched values inherent with that example which tries to qualify aforesaid way of life, regardless of colour or race, takes great strength to overwrite its continual claim of negativity upon one's adulthood.

    Just an informed opinion, but nevertheless, your article is refreshing and abounding in loving honesty.

    I shall hammer this one to the board :)

    Best Wishes,

    R.Q.

  • ziyena profile image
    Author

    ziyena 3 years ago from Southern Colorado

    Thanks teach :)

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

    This is beautifully written. That's always the first thing I look for when I read an article....it's the teacher in me and I can't help it. :) Once I had made that subjective judgment, I moved on to the matter at hand...the topic. What you did here was open your heart and speak with brutal honesty. Do you like ganster rap? Absolutely not! Can you relate to the inner-city experience? Absolutely not! Are you a human being who is teachable? Absolutely!

    Beautiful work all the way around my friend. Thank you for this.

  • ziyena profile image
    Author

    ziyena 3 years ago from Southern Colorado

    Thank you Dora ... he now has a special place in my heart

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

    Even before I read your "Afterward Thoughts," I was impressed with your honesty. You wrote about yourself as much as you wrote about the artist. You matured while watching the movie and you also gave a mature presentation. I enjoyed it immensely. Thank you, and I'm voting UP!

  • ziyena profile image
    Author

    ziyena 3 years ago from Southern Colorado

    Amen Brave

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

    Ziyena, I guess only he knows. Look at the home his mother lives in. At first, I assumed he bought it for her, as Elvis did his mom. The Black Panther affiliation on both sides of his gene pool tells me that may not be so. We are all a product of our environment and the morals with which we are raised. We need to think twice when we bring children into our questionable/dangerous worlds.

  • ziyena profile image
    Author

    ziyena 3 years ago from Southern Colorado

    Wow! Brave, you pose a very thought-provoking question, which I did not think of ... Did their vigilante lifestyle of the past condemn their child to an early death? Are we talking about spiritual karma ...or just the idea that if you live with violence, you die with violence?

    By the way, I will leave you with another qoute from Tupac ... this one makes me scratch my head, leaving me puzzled:

    "My only fear of death is reincarnation."

    Although murdered in cold blood, he had such an incredible life full of so much opportunity. what's he afraid of???

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

    Ziyena, I don't like rap, therefore I had no idea this man existed until I read this hub. You did a great job and posed lots of questions. I think many, if not most of us, are ignorant to the cultures that surround us, unless we choose to let them in. Prejudice still prevails whether it has to do with race, choice of music, customs, etc. Prejudice is the fuel for ignorance.

    I was guilty of ignorance before reading this hub where you bring a rapper to light and admit your own ignorance. You have brought awareness.

    I could not vote in your poll because I know nothing surrounding the death of Tupac, nor who may have wanted him dead. I will say I was a bit surprised to learn that his parents were Panthers. That was a pretty wicked group and one to be feared in the '60s.

    I was impressed by the intelligence of both his mother and father, so it seems to me they did not allow themselves to be oppressed by prejudice. But did their vigilante lifestyle of the past condemn their child to an early death? Hmmm....

    Great post, Ziyena - one of the best I've read of late.

  • ziyena profile image
    Author

    ziyena 3 years ago from Southern Colorado

    Paying it forward

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