Tupac Shakur is best known as the king of West Coast ’90s hip-hop, rapping alongside fellow Death Row Records luminaries such as Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg until his young life was cut short in Las Vegas. Still, Tupac was a much more complex man than his gangster image suggested. Did you know that Tupac was part of a communist party?
Tupac Shakur was a member of the Baltimore Young Communist League and dated the daughter of the local Communist Party director.
Tupac, the Communist
Tupac was a social butterfly who made fast friends with many people growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. Still, his closest friends were the Young Communist League USA kids, where he studied communism and participated in the group’s active social projects.
He even dated the daughter of the director of the local Communist Party chapter in Baltimore. It’s entirely possible that if he hadn’t moved from Baltimore to the Bay Area in 1988, the Langston Hughes of his generation would have spent his time radicalizing DC instead. (Source: History Daily)
The Black Panther
Tupac Amaru II was born Lesane Parish Crooks on June 16, 1971, and was renamed Tupac Amaru II when he was one year old. During the 1960s and 1970s, both of his parents were active members of the Black Panther movement, and his mother, Afeni, was even criminally charged as part of the Panther 21 trial for more than 100 crimes, including coordinated bombings throughout New York City. After the trial, she was acquitted of a staggering number of charges.
Shakur’s mother was not the only member of his family who got into trouble because of their political activities. Elmer Geronimo Pratt, his godfather, was targeted by the FBI as a potential functionary, and he was convicted of murdering a schoolteacher during a 1968 robbery. His sentence was overturned after 27 years in prison, and he relocated to a Tanzanian village. (Source: History Daily)
Did You Know That Tupac Did Ballet?
Tupac was an outstanding student at the Baltimore School for the Arts. He excelled at music and poetry even at a young age, but he fell deeply in love with dance. He studied ballet and played the Mouse King in The Nutcracker, but that wasn’t his only appearance on stage. He was enamored with all forms of theater, particularly the world of Shakespeare, foreshadowing his future acting success.
It influences all my work. I love Shakespeare. He wrote some of the rawest stories, manTupac Shakur, Hip-Hop Artist
(Source: History Daily)
Madonna and Tupac’s Whirlwind Romance
Tupac Shakur loomed large in West Coast hip-hop, but he was such a huge star that he didn’t just hang out with his crew. In the early 1990s, he made friends with everyone from Madonna to Sting, both of whom said they liked how he used humor to make everyone feel at ease. Tupac and Madonna dated briefly in the early 1990s, but their relationship ended shortly before he was sentenced to prison at 24. While in prison, he wrote her an apology for how he handled their breakup. The letter says :
I must apologize to you. Because like you said, I haven’t been the kind of friend I know I am capable of being. Not because I am evil or because you weren’t worthy but, at the risk of sounding over-dramatic, the effects of racism make it difficult for a young black man to properly show affection for an older white woman.Tupac’s Letter to Madonna
(Source: History Daily)
Image from Dw