You are appreciated – R.I.P. Afeni Shakur

By Anton Constantinou - @Aberrantin

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The mother of the late rapper, Tupac Shakur, has died aged 69.

Marin County Sheriffs and Firefighters were called to her houseboat in Sausalito, California on Monday night after hearing that she felt ill and suffered a suspected heart attack.  Following CPR, Afeni was then rushed to hospital  where she reportedly passed away an hour later. Police are not currently treating her death as suspicious.

Afeni was more than just a mother figure, she was an icon in her own right.  A businesswoman, philanthropist and political activist, she fought tirelessly to preserve the legacy of her son following his murder in a drive-by shooting in 1996. In memory, she founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Centre for the Arts– a performing arts centre dedicated to providing creative opportunities for young people- along with Amaru entertainment. She was also the brains behind the official ‘Pac clothing line, Makaveli Branded.

Originally a black panther, Afeni was part of a revolutionary black nationalist organisation in america that challenged racism, inequality  and police brutality. It was during that time that she got accused of taking part in bombings on behalf of the party and had stand to trial. But Afeni, being the courageous, independent woman that she was, acted as her own criminal defense attorney, going on to win the trial in 1971 – the same year ‘Pac was born. Yes, believe or not, Afeni gave birth to ‘Pac shortly after serving time in jail.

Even more amazing is the fact that Afeni overcame years of drug abuse to achieve greatness.  As touched upon in the ‘Pac song, Dear Mama, Afeni became hooked on crack cocaine in the early 80’s, eventually overcoming her addiction a decade later with the help of her son.

Following the news that Prince had a stash of unreleased music in a secret vault in his basement, it seems that Afeni too went to extraordinary lengths to protect her son’s music from beyond the grave. According to TMZ, she set up a trust to oversee all of Tupac’s music rights, and ensure that proceeds go either to nominated charities or family.

However which way you look at it, Afeni Shakur was an inspirational woman and a tragic loss to the hip hop community. Showing our love and support, here’s a touching moment from a MTV News interview with her in 1998:

 



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