Editor’s Note: Because this site was not up on the 10-year anniversary of his death last month, I will use this column now to take the opportunity to honor Tupac Amaru Shakur
“We talk a lot about Malcom X and Martin Luther King JR, but It’s time to be like them, as strong as them. They were mortal men like us and everyone of us can be like them. I don’t want to be a role model. I just want to be someone who says, this is who I am, this is what I do. I say what’s on my mind.
There are two things that will forever remain in our minds, what we were doing on 9/11, and Tupac Shakur. There is no correlation between the two but each have impacted us like no other event or person ever.
But this column isn’t here to talk about 9/11, this column is dedicated to a man who ingrained with the power of the panther became the voice to a generation who wasn’t heard. A man whose slim frame produced more energy than the H-Bomb; and whose complexity was as chaotic as the atomic make-up of it.
Tupac wasn’t just a rapper or an actor. He was something more, something special. Michael Eric Dyson described Pac with one word, martyr.
“The very notion that Tupac was a martyr-for the cause of thug life or black male hardship or economic inequality or hopeless urban existence-means that competing martyrdons failed to adequately represent just what those who love Tupac and proclaim his martyrdom lost: a figure who, in the spirit of his song ‘Black Jesus,’ loved like they loved, smoked like they smoked, hurt like they hurt, died like they may die.”
And yet, Pac was a human created with flesh and bone which in turn made him otherwordly. The power of his voice, the will of his character, the strength of his words caused legions of people, young and old, black and white to follow his lead, to the follow the direction he was taking them until he was gunned down on that Las Vegas night in September.
“Tupac was a transcendent force of creative fury who relentlessly articulated a generation’s defining moods-its confusion and pain, its nobility and courage, its loves and hates, its hopelessness and self-destruction. He was the zeitgeist in sagging jeans.”
Just like Malcolm, Martin and Gandhi, Pac’s legacy will continue to live on, until the end of time.
Quotes provided by: Holler if you Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur
Michael Eric Dyson
(Civitas Books 2001)