Anybody that knows about hip hop have heard of Tupac Amari Shakur. Let me go further and educated you on what I know; he was born LeSane Parrish Crooks.
It was 1996, I was sitting on a friends grandmother’s porch on West blvd in Charlotte North Carolina waiting on the next dope fiend to hit my pager for some drugs. That day I was back and forth hustling the streets, Tupac was on my mind heavy that day since he had just got shot in Vegas. I just thought the homie would make it through. As me and some guys were planning out our next hustle moves; the world came to a stop. Music in all surrounding cars paused; the radio jocks announced with saddness in their voices; Tupac Amari Shakur has just been pronounced dead!
I wanted to punch a got damn wall. I was so hurt, I was sad, I was pissed, I was angry and I felt whoever did this just murdered the only voice that represented the young black generation of my time.
Even after the media assummed his death, it was hard to believe. The day I met Tupac was one I would never forget.
I did my research on the man I called the greatest rap artist of all time. If you didn’t love his craft and skills ; you are and were just a pure hater. His story touched the world like Michael, Whitney and Prince touched so many. Whether you liked his character, you respected his work as a musical genius. Never have there been an artist that spoke with so much conviction and truth in his words. Only one other artist I knew did that. An unsigned artist name “Stoneface” albums Georgia Scars and Krytonite; look him up on Amazon.com. Check out the song “Kontrol”. That’s another story for another day.
I was so intrigued by Tupac’s life, like many others were; I contacted the Las Vegas police myself to speak with Detective Scott Poole myself. They transferred me to his desk but he didn’t answer so I left a message for him to return my call and that I was a reporter from the Baltimore Sun newspaper. Detective Poole never called me back.
So my next move was to go over to the Tupac center in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Once I entered the parking lot i felt something. As I was walking through the peacefully garden, I felt his energy. Looking at all the contributers that had their names engraved on the bricks. I stared at this 7 foot bronze statue for over 15 minutes, absorbing his greatness, admiring his gift; feeling blessed for the moment I was having; just me and him. The flowers in the peacefully garden we’re bright, birds chirping; I reached out and grabbed his hand and introduced myself as one of his biggest fan. I didn’t care who heard me talking to this bronze statue; he’s Tupac. Over my shoulder I could hear “He was a great son, loved by the world; loved by people like yourself” Afeni said. I turned and couldn’t believe it was her, a tall black beautiful darkskin woman who gave birth to a man with a purpose; that the world knew and loved. I felt like I was dreaming. She removed her blue gloves that were dirty from the plants she were planting in the soil. Her arm reached out to acknowledge me with a hand shake, “I don’t bite, I’m Afeni” she said. My hands shook, as my palms touched her palms. “It’s a honor and pleasure to meet you Mrs. Shakur” i said. She placed her arm around my shoulder as we both stood there staring at Tupac. She asked had I been here before, but when she learn I haven’t; she escorted me to the lobby of the building. There she introduced me to the Black Panther history, right there on the walls. There were articles and newspaper clippings of her Black Panther movement days; all the way up to the time she gave birth to LeSane Parrish Crooks in prison. My last journey with her was the studio equipment Tupac once used, surrounded by a glass barrier. “Go ahead have a seat in his chair”. I was honored. We made small talk for a hour more , then she said she was headed home for the evening. I had one last question for Afeni, “Is your son truly dead?” She replied with a slight smile,”Tupac still lives amongst all of us”.
We hugged and I left there feeling empowered to speak through my own gifts as he did.
The next day I wrote Afeni a letter, thanking her for being so kind, loving, caring and educating me on Tupac’s life. I mailed the letter to the center. Not sure if she would respond back or not. I checked my mail box eveyday.
I continued to do my own Tupac investigation. I wanted to reach out to Deathrow Records, but I wasn’t fucking with Suge; that negro crazy and I had my own opinion on who was responsible for Tupac’s shootings. Notice I said shooting because I wasnt convince he was dead or I didn’t want to believe he was. I reach out to a Havana Cuba’s consul by searching online:
Embassies in the Vedado District
US interest section
Calzada between L & M streets
Vedado La Habana
Tel +53 7 833.35.51
They took my email address then emailed me back with questions and what was my purpose of inquiries about Cuba. I responded back; I’m looking for Tupac Amari Shakur. The exact email said, why and who are you? I said a family friend; whoever was on the other end replied, no person by that name lives here in the city of Havana. They never responded back to me after several more of my attempts. I reached out to Mutulu Shakur via email, he was locked up in prison; we talked back and forward through emails for about four months but the letters stopped. He was Tupac’s step father, Mopreme and Set’s father (Tupac’s brother and sister)
I got a letter from Afeni two weeks later, she apologized for the late response, but she was traveling after getting married. She left me her home address as we emailed back and forth for months.
I never mentioned this to Afeni and when she passed away I cried, I cried and I cried. I hate that the Tupac Foundation Center closed down too, but his legacy lives on. I never got to meet her son, I’m but I saw him through her eyes, felt him through her hands, talks, huggs and letters; and I still listen to his music daily.
RIP- #Lesane parrish crooks tupac amari shakur.