Living On: Tupac Shakur

Tupac Resurrection’s Documentary focused on how Tupac expressed himself through his music as well as his acting career. He grew up being the child of two Black Panther activists and a drug dealing step dad. He saw the Black struggle since he was part of the black struggle. Most of his music revolved around portraying the everyday injustices that were being inflicted on African Americans, whether or not it was being inflicted on him. He was a strong believer of the African American community and wanted and succeeded in representing them in the music industry. He told stories within his rhymes of what he witnessed hanging around drug dealers and criminals when he was growing up. They were his role models; they helped him stay out of trouble while he chased more beneficial opportunities in rapping and acting.

He knew that despite the Civil Rights movement that African Americans were still dealing with injustice. He used his “thug life” concept in his music to relate to those who are going through the turmoil’s of poverty and living a dangerous lifestyle. Although Tupac was aware that his music also influenced other kids that did not relate, he nonetheless wanted to because it seemed to be a trend. He had his own concept of what would reach the African American culture and what should be displayed to the rest of America. He wanted to expose the tragic lives that most media was not willing to show. He may have not been the creator of thug culture; sexism, criminals but he promoted some of it in his music. Yet he did it in a way in which showed all of the dynamics in American culture.

Tupac was exposed to both an educated and privileged lifestyle while going to school in Baltimore and living in poor urban neighborhood. He wrote poetry, acted, rapped and performed for a variety of different things. His career towards the heart of rap culture; he was becoming one of the most influential rappers of his time. However rap was still under the hot seat by many people who believed it to be negative, derogatory, violent and offensive to women. American culture was still trying to hold to old values and political conservatism. There was always well known figures whether they be politicians or activists who publicly opposed not only his lyrics but his entire image. That’s what most Americans were afraid of, afraid of glamorizing a dangerous lifestyle. Afraid of the freedom that came with Black expression in the arts.

I have learned that music can take on a life of its own. The more Tupac wrote about gangster life, the more his life became that. He stated in the documentary that he saw more of the police while he was rapping than when he wasn’t, even though he was in or around the ghetto. People did not know how to react to the brutal honesty that he was portraying in his music. He didn’t want to censor who he was or where he came from. What he wrote about was realistic and was meant to be relatable. He did it for his own people, the only way he knew he could reach them. However his reach spread farther than the African American community, it spread to all of America. He had fans of every race and religion and they were all waiting on his next move.

Many thought of him as a leader, someone who could guide them through the everyday ordeals. He was promoting a new resistance to the black oppression and people were not ready for that. But no could deny that Tupac had an undeniable aura of Black power. He took things into his own hands and became master of his own destiny. Rap and Hip Hop was brought to the forefront of American politics. When he was killed, there was plenty of people questioning why he died. A blog I have come across called “Nikki Giovanni Speaks On The Domination Of Black Music & The “Assassination” Of 2 Pac” talked about the meaning of his death. She indeed viewed his death as an assassination of a political, economic and social movement. He created a movement through his music like no ever had for the African American people.

The Tupac Resurrection Film gave you both sides of the story. What the media portrayed and what he was trying to portray. I believe that this documentary was a fair view of Tupac’s career and life because it showed both the pits and falls and successes of his actions. It told you the whole story from the character himself but also what everyone else thought. It displayed interviews of enemies and close friends but more importantly, his interviews. He explained how he felt about everything; he spoke of what he believed to be true. That’s what fans loved about him the most, that we was true to himself regardless of his stature. I would say fame didn’t change him but it did, he questioned his surroundings more than ever and where he was going. The film showed him growing up in poverty, his search for happiness in acting and rapping, and his struggle to prevail over racism, his time in jail, and his power in and outside of his rapping career.

Interestingly enough, its 2014 and people still speak of Tupac as if he’s still alive and that’s because he is. Tupac found a way to stay alive through his music. The youth today still listens to his albums and still talk about how prominent his message was. He still touches hearts and souls today. How many artists can you say about that to this day? He is not in the past, he is in the present and we will be seeing him in the future as well. Tupac is still relevant to people today, 18 years after his death. He lives on because people want his dream to live on, nor do they want his death be in vain. I did not know much about Tupac until watching this documentary, which is why I chose to talk about him. I knew people loved but I never understood why. I thought he was a typical rapper just like the mainstream rappers today but I was wrong. He was much more than just a rapper; he was an activist, leader and inspiration across the nation.

However I found it intriguing knowing that Tupac was raised by Black Panther activists who influenced his movement more than anything else. They wanted better lives for African Americans but they also fought their own demons. His mother became a crack addict and Tupac became involved in criminal activity, everything that they did into want to happen, happened. Tupac embraced this disadvantageous lifestyle, knowing that it would only bring harm. I would have like to know why that is, why chose to live a lifestyle he didn’t have to? Did he choose this lifestyle or did it choose him? Of course, just like any other human being he was flawed but his actions were contradicting what most African Americans wanted. They did not want to be a stereotype. Did Tupac really have a plan? What was it?

The Colonel D.S. “Nikki Giovanni Speaks On The Domination Of Black Music & The “Assassination” Of 2 Pac” Web log post. http://truthabouttupac.com. 4 Jan. 2014

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