Shakur giving a speech in 2008
Alice Faye Williams|
January 10, 1947
Lumberton, North Carolina, U.S.
May 2, 2016 (aged 69)|
Sausalito, California, U.S.
|Political party||Black Panther Party|
Gust Davis (m. 2004)
Lumumba Shakur (1968–1971)|
Mutulu Shakur (1975–1982)
|Children||2, including Tupac Shakur|
In 1968, at the age of twenty-one, she changed her name to Afeni Shakur, Afeni Yoruba word for "lover of people" and Shakur being Arabic for "thankful to God", respectively. She was then living in Harlem, New York, where she joined the far-left Black Panther Party. She became a section leader of the Harlem chapter and a mentor to new members, including Jamal Joseph, Cleo Silvers and Dhoruba Bin-Wahad. She also worked with Billy Garland (who is Tupac's biological father) and Geronimo Pratt (who became Tupac's baptismal sponsor).
The Panther 21
In April 1969, Afeni Shakur was arrested on charges of conspiring with other Black Panther members to carry out bombings in New York. With bail set at $100,000 each for the 21 suspects, the Black Panthers decided to raise bail money first for Joseph and Shakur so that those two could work on raising bail for the others. Shakur had been effective in raising bail funds for jailed Panthers. After reading Fidel Castro's History Will Absolve Me, Shakur chose to represent herself in court, telling other accused Panthers that if they were convicted, they would be the ones serving jail time, not the lawyers. Pregnant while on trial and facing a 300-year prison sentence, Shakur interviewed witnesses and argued in court. She and the others in the "Panther 21" were acquitted in May 1971 after an eight-month trial. Her son, Lesane Parish Crooks, was born on June 16, 1971. The following year, in 1972, Lesane Parish was renamed Tupac Amaru Shakur.
Involvement in the music industry and philanthropy
Exactly one year following her son's death, with revenue from his albums released posthumously, Afeni Shakur founded the Georgia-based Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which provides art programs for young people, and Amaru Entertainment, the holding company for all Tupac's unreleased material. She also launched a fashion clothing line, Makaveli Branded.
Injunction against Death Row Records
Shakur was reportedly in federal court on July 20, 2007, to file an injunction to prevent Death Row Records from selling any unreleased material from Tupac after the company failed to prove that the unreleased songs were not part of its bankruptcy settlement.
Guest appearances and lectures
Shakur traveled across the U.S., making guest appearances and delivering lectures. On February 6, 2009, she gave the keynote address for Vanderbilt University's Commemoration for Black History Month.
On May 2, 2016, police and paramedics responded to Shakur's home in Sausalito, California. She was transported to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead of a suspected heart attack. Her body was cremated.
- Guy, Jasmine (2004). Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary. New York: Atria Books. p. 5.
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- Dillion, Nancy; Niemietz, Brian; Wagner, Meg (May 4, 2016). "Afeni Shakur, mother of hip-hop legend Tupac, dead at 69". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
- "Private memorial for Tupac's mom Afeni Shakur to be held in N.C." Retrieved February 23, 2017.