Tuesday, 20 September 2016

200 Black Power Youth in Ldn Celebrate Tupac 20 Years On

London’s Black Youth Unite With Tupac Shakur’s Black Panther Family!

Nearly 200 overwhelmingly African and Asian working class youth, including two parties of people flying in especially for the event from mainland Europe, packed into the room in East London at RichMix for the Tupac 20 Years On event organised by the Malcolm X Movement, I am Hip-Hop and Intifada Street. The idea was initiated by Malcolm X Movement with I am Hip-Hop and Intifada Street becoming enthusiastic partners.

The event was historic. 20 years on from the martyrdom of Tupac Amaru Shakur the only commemoration event in the world saw political and cultural activists and artists gather together at an event that showcased people's love and creativity inspired by Tupac’s work and legacy.

The atmosphere was very positive, politically and powerfully Black Power radical and socialist and a strong sense of unity around our martyrs of the Black Panthers including Tupac. Tupac was the chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panthers in his late teens and spent the first moments of his existence in his mother’s womb while she - Afeni Shakur - was falsely imprisoned on charges related to her leadership of the New York Black Panthers, charges that collapsed. One of the other defendants (there were 21 in total, hence their name ‘New York 21’) was New York’s youngest Panther - Jamal Joseph - who later in life became one of Tupac’s two Godfathers and a close comrade and brother to Afeni Shakur.

We were honored to have have Jamal Joseph participate at our event via live internet video link. The event would not could not have been complete without a keynote address and QnA with Jamal Joseph himself. To have a veteran Black Panther and Black Liberation Army combatant, former political prisoner, now university professor and Oscar nominated elder comrade reasoning with us and teaching us was just very special. Jamal Joseph was joined on the panel by Ayishat Akanbi and Apex Zero.

Ayishat is a brilliant young fashion designer and also has a very grounded but firm sense of justice and Black Liberation to impart. Apex Zero’s rhymes and political insight is powerful and confident. The panellists and the QnA made for a very informative and inspiring learning process as we heard first hand the stories of the Panthers and Tupac from Jamal Joseph and the reflections and discussions from Ayishat and Apex and many brothers and sisters attending.

With an art exhibition by Intifada Street adorning the side of the stage, DJ Doni Brasco pumping the Tupac beats from the DJ table, the performances were enjoyable, fun and often showing great social and political insight and with, with Malcolm X Movement coordinator Margaret Atugonza making her debut not only as a young emerging political leader but also as a brilliant soul and jazz singer with her moving rendition of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car. The open mic / Cypher session saw many young African and Asian young people share their skills and beautiful confidence with everyone in the room, and the room showed their appreciation!

The event was hosted brilliantly by I am Hip-Hop’s magazine editor Maya Rattrey, and all the Malcolm X Movement coordinators - Ahmed Kaballo who hosted the panel discussion with great panache, Dr Moustafa Traore, Margaret Atugonza, Sukant Chandan and Richard Sudan - and excellent performances from Big Cakes, Amy True, Ibrahim Sincere and JusWrite.

Many new contacts and alliances were made from the event, and it was a modest but inspiring and successful contribution to building an African and Asian and Black Power oriented socialist movement.


Raw live stream footage here, here and here.

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