Previously on Dear Mama, we saw Tupac Shakur, an acclaimed musician, faced a daunting fate after being convicted on three counts of sexual assault charges. As the jurors pronounced him guilty, he was sentenced to spend eight long months in a maximum security prison. However, this prison was not any ordinary prison; it was a place filled with terror, chaos, and violence. Tupac was sent here, far away from his family and friends, which only added to the already intense burden he had to carry. The conditions of the prison were nothing less than horrifying, and the news of inmates stabbing each other in the shower and the prison riot only served to heighten the anxiety of Tupac’s mother, Afeni. She was always worried about her son’s safety and well-being, and the thought of him being locked up in maximum security made her feel even more uneasy. Afeni had her fair share of experiences with the judicial system and knew firsthand how it discriminated against her people. The system exploited and mistreated the prisoners, depriving them of even the most basic amenities. Her heart ached as she thought about the suffering that her son might have to endure in that cruel environment.
The Fortunate Acquittal
The FBI’s COINTELPRO program, as revealed by leaked documents, was a shocking revelation of the wrongful arrests and encounters faced by members of the Black Panther party. Thirteen members of the party were acquitted due to the overwhelming evidence presented in court. Afeni was released three days before Tupac was born; however, for years, she struggled with depression, PTSD, and health issues. Afeni was heartbroken to learn that the Black Panther party had disbanded, leaving those who remained at the mercy of drugs and alcohol. Despite this, Afeni found purpose in her work with the Bronx Legal Services, fighting against wrongful evictions. It was during this time that she met Matulu Shakur and fell in love with him. The duo shared a love for fairness and justice, and together they formed a national task force to limit COINTELPRO and research ways to acquit Geronimo Pratt and many others who had spent many years in maximum security for a crime they played no part in. Regrettably, Matulu’s involvement in the looting of nearly a million dollars from a Brink’s truck and the fatal shooting of two on-duty police officers skyrocketed his name on America’s most wanted list. After the heist, the stolen money was divided and distributed in small envelopes throughout the Harlem community. During this time, Afeni was struggling financially and turned to smoking crack to numb her pain and troubles, which sadly robbed Tupac of the love and care of his mother.
Partnership With Death Row
Tupac’s musical career was given a new lease of life when he signed a deal with Suge Knight, the head honcho of “Death Row Records.” The terms of the deal were simple – three albums in exchange for Suge posting Tupac’s bail. It was a chance for Tupac to take the world by storm once again with his music. Suge Knight was a heavyweight in the music industry, having worked with notable artists such as Snoop Dogg. His association with Tupac would prove to be a game-changer for the young artist. After his release from prison, Tupac headed straight to the recording studio, determined to make a statement with his music. It took him just an hour to pen another masterpiece, the iconic “California Love.” The song resonated with audiences, cementing Tupac’s status as the undisputed king of hip-hop. Throughout most of his career, Tupac Shakur felt like he was alone, with no one to rely on. Growing up without a consistent male figure in his life, Suge Knight and Snoop Dogg filled that void for him, becoming a mentor and a big brother figure. In one memorable instance, Suge even risked his own life to save Tupac from drowning.
Despite his young age of 25, Tupac had already achieved more than most individuals do in a lifetime. It’s hard not to think how much more Tupac could have achieved had he been allowed to live through his 30s and 40s. His talents extended far beyond his musical prowess – he was a budding star in the world of cinema and had aspirations to direct his own movie one day. Tupac and Snoop Dogg’s friendship deepened during a difficult time for Snoop. Snoop was, in a way, similar to Tupac, as most of the songs he wrote were drawn from the pain and discrimination he suffered during his formative years. Snoop’s lyrics were raw and unfiltered, giving voice to the voiceless and shedding light on the injustices that he and others in his community had faced. Unfortunately, Snoop was facing jail time after his bodyguard killed a white man in self-defense. Tupac stood by Snoop’s side throughout the trial, offering support and encouragement. Thankfully, justice prevailed, and Snoop was cleared of all charges. After their legal victory, Tupac and Snoop Dogg continued to produce legendary hip-hop tracks, collaborating on many of the best-selling hits. As Tupac’s fame and success continued to grow, he found love in the arms of Kidada Ann Jones, dreaming of a future filled with marriage and children. He also sought to establish his own record company, Euthanasia, a move that didn’t sit well with Suge Knight, who had come to rely heavily on Tupac’s musical talent. However, the world was robbed of this hip-hop icon far too soon, as Tupac was tragically shot and murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas on September 6, 1996, leaving behind an immense musical legacy that will continue to inspire and influence generations to come.