Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Afeni Shakur, Mother of 2Pac Passes Onto the Ancestors
During the repression of the Black Panthers, Afeni Shakur and twenty other leading cadres of the New York Black Panthers - dubbed the 'New York 21' at the time - faced trumped up charges of terrorism against shopping malls and police offices. With Tupac Amaru Shakur (AKA '2Pac' in later life) in her womb while in prison, Afeni defended herself in the trial that saw all 21 Panthers being acquitted of all charges.
With a growing baby Afeni Shakur was closely associated with the Black Liberation Army, an armed revolutionary off shoot of the Black Panthers who carried on operations into the late 1970s. For her associations and past associations Afeni Shakur and her family continued to be subject to repression and harassment, with little Tupac even being questioned by the FBI in this primary school.
Despite all these challenges and many others, or perhaps because of these very challenges and the radical political community in which Tupac was veing raised as a child, Tupac achieved brilliant results in school and was an extremely bright and gifted child by his mid teens, as so many of our Black and Asian and working class children are. But the impact of repression is multifaceted and deep going, maybe some of the impact of all this trauma manifested itself towards the latter years of Tupac's life with continued and intensified USA state harassment of Tupac and his family.
Tupac's own step father - Mutulu Shakur - was in prison related to his time in the Black Liberation Army, and the USA state ensured that Mutulu and Tupac's communication was ended, and that brought to an end a very fruitful and interesting dialogue between the two whereby Mutulu was constantly questioning and discussing with Tupac about his cultural work as a rapper and artist.
One has to remember that Tupac was actually a leader of the New Afrikan Panthers before he became very famous, and it was fame within a colonial industry and the people around him that led to him drifting away from the type of debates and reflections that Tupac was having with his step father and others as to the on-going liberation struggle and the changes in the lives of Black people since the demise of the Black Panthers. Tupac as well as Biggie were killed in what in what points to a continuation of the counter-revolutionary covert program of state repression, dirty tricks and assassination. At a time when the imperialist system was seeing great strides in the colonial destruction of the potential and actuality of Hip-Hop and Rap as a means of uniting and advancing the Black Liberation Movement, anti-imperialism and much more, the threat of leading 100s of millions of Black youth and youth loyal to the Black Liberation was a threat too large and had to be destroyed.
Afeni Shakur and her family and comrades suffered another great tragedy after all the hurt, trauma and loss from the days of the Panthers and since. Afeni like so many Black women and mother warriors across the world took on what must have been a near impossibly task of maintaining her own life and working hard to ensure the legacy of her son.
Although Afeni moved away from some of the revolutionary politics of the Panthers, nonetheless it is inspiring that she developed her own spiritual strength to keep her going in this life until today. We salute Afeni Shakur, a true Black rose that grew irresistibly through the many layers of concrete that our enemies poured onto her and her family. Panther Power, Black Power!
Tupac's dedication to his mother, Afeni Shakur