I am rarely unable to express my emotions. Penning a euology for Tupac Shakur has been an exception to that rule. My feelings about Tupac are passionate and complex. Words seem inadequate when seeking to describe such pain.
I did not always like Tupac, but I always loved him. There were times when his machismo seemed maniacal. When he was accused of rape, I was shocked and heartbroken. How could a beautiful poet, who penned such womanist classics like "Keep Your Head Up","Dear Mama", and "Brenda's Got A Baby", violate a sister so heinously? When he was accused of attacking off duty Atlanta cops, I cheered for him! I never doubted he was acting in self defense because I lived in that rabidly racist city for seven years. I know the criminal climate of the police state of Georgia.
I always respected Tupac for being angry without apology. For being candid without censor. For being afrocentric and radical without "proper" reserve. I admire all persons who refuse to polish their passions for public protocol.
Tupac shared the blood of regal revolutionary ancestors. Yet, this son of Black Panther warriors always seemed to be lost in lesser battles. His vision blurred by capitalist greed and trivial rivalries. His direction skewed by immaturity and absent fatherhood. His spiritual ascension grounded by worldly chaos.
Tupac could have kept better company. But he could never have been more gifted as a griot/actor. He could have fought superior battles. But he could never have been a more fearless warrior. He should have lived longer. But he could never have lived more memorably. In perhaps his most prophetic and autobiographical song, "I Ain't Mad at Cha", he says "I ain't happy here". I know his soul lives eternally in a superior place. I sincerely hope he is happy there...
Unlike the rest of us, Tupac never masked his imperfections. He never camouflaged his confusion. He never apologized for his rage. He was honest and real in an industry and a world where such ethics are liabilities. Tupac loved African people. We will never forget that love, because we will always love him just as much.
Rest in peace brother. We miss you. We love you. The "brothers" who killed you are the same cowards who only whine each time a killer cop goes free or a neocon politician enacts a new genocidal law. The day that black men kill their real enemies as secretly, frequently and easily as they abuse sisters or murder each other, is the day that the Revolution will come.