Panther Cub.

39 years ago on this day a cub was born. Much like all Panther cubs, he was born into an environment of love and imminent danger; a contradicting mixture but a common one. Seemingly hunted from  birth, he quickly learned of the unjust conditions that was being enforced upon his kind and adapted with poetic ferocity. The Panther cub that I speak of goes by the name of Tupac Amaru Shakur.

Tupac Amaru Shakur (June 16th, 1971 – September 13th, 1996)

Born in the East Harlem section of New York City, Shakur wasn’t always throwing up W’s. In fact he lived in the city until the age of twelve before relocating to Baltimore, Maryland for two years and eventually taking a more permanent residence in  Marin City, California.

But we’ve all seen the numerous documentaries so I won’t spend time retelling his life story. My goal is to highlight the sociopolitical and revolutionary significance of his life.

  • Shakur was named after Peruvian revolutionary  Túpac Amaru II who led an indigenous uprising against Spain and was subsequently executed.
  • Shakur’s mother and father, Afeni Shakur and  Billy Garland, were active members of the  Black Panther Party.
  • Tupac’s birth certificate and death certificate reads Lesane Parish Crooks. His mother originally gave him this name due to the fear that her enemies would attack her son. She later changed his name once she seperated from Garland and married  Mutulu Shakur.
  • His stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, was placed on the  FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives in 1982. “Mutulu was wanted in part for having helped his sister Assata Shakur (also known as Joanne Chesimard) to escape from a penitentiary in New Jersey, where she had been incarcerated for allegedly shooting a state trooper to death in 1973.” He was also wanted for planning of the infamous $1.6 million robbery of a Brinks armored truck in New York in which a guard and two police officers were killed.
  • Tupac’s godfather, Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, was a high ranking Black Panther.
  • Tupac, much like Nina Simone, frequently implemented cries of civil injustice, social inequality, urban squalor and police brutality into his work.

Happy Birthday Pac.