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DEAR MAMA - The Life and Legacy of Afeni Shakur

“Remembering Afeni Shakur: Activist, mother, and the resilient force behind Tupac's legacy. Join us as we honor her journey of triumph, activism, and unwavering dedication.”

Black Wall Street MediaBlack History Month 2024 - FEBRUARY

Afeni Shakur, best known as the mother of iconic rapper Tupac Shakur, was a woman of remarkable resilience and influence.

Born Alice Faye Williams on January 10, 1947, in Lumberton, North Carolina, Afeni’s early life was marked by violence and upheaval.

Witnessing her father’s abuse of her mother prompted a move to New York, where Afeni’s academic success at Benjamin Franklin Junior High School was overshadowed by her growing interest in politics and activism.

Joining the Black Panthers at the age of 21, Afeni became deeply involved in the movement, participating in volunteer work, leading chapters, and contributing articles to the party newsletter.

However, the escalating conflict between the Black Panthers and authorities led to raids, infiltrations, and a period of personal turmoil for Afeni.

Despite the challenges, she stood strong, even warning her then-husband Lumumba Shakur about undercover police infiltration. In 1969, Afeni and Lumumba, along with others, were arrested and faced over 150 charges, including alleged plans to bomb public spaces.

Known as the “Panther 21,” Afeni took the remarkable step of representing herself in court, ultimately achieving acquittal after an intense legal battle.

She gave birth to a son, Lesane Parish Crooks (later known as Tupac Shakur), on June 16, 1971.

Family life brought challenges as well, with divorces and paternity revelations. Afeni married Mutulu Shakur in 1975, and they welcomed a daughter, Sekyiwa, that same year.

Despite personal struggles, Afeni maintained a foundation of love for her children. Tupac’s rise to fame brought both joy and complexity to Afeni’s life.

However, Tupac’s dedication to his mother was evident in the 1995 release of “Dear Mama,” a heartfelt ode acknowledging her struggles and sacrifices.

Tragedy struck in 1996 when Tupac was fatally shot. Afeni, named executor of Tupac’s estate, channeled her grief into establishing the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, dedicated to supporting young artists.

Her commitment to philanthropy continued, with the foundation funding scholarships and programs for the arts.

In later years, Afeni married Gust D. Davis Jr. in 2004 and continued her philanthropic endeavors. She passed away on May 2, 2016, in Sausalito, California, at the age of 69.

Afeni’s legacy lives on through the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which focuses on mental health, wellness, and artistic expression.

Her story is one of resilience, activism, and unwavering dedication to her family and the causes she believed in.


Black Wall St. MediaContributor



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