Dr. Mutulu Shakur speaks about Tupac
04-06-2006, 11:01 PM
Dr. Mutulu Shakur speaks about Tupac
Thug Angel Interview - Dr. Mutulu Shakur speaks about Tupac
Tupac has always been on top of what's happening. I mean, we spent many days and nights together when he wasa a little kid. The picture I showed you shows him as a little shorty.
I can recall when we would sit in meetings and say to me "you don't like him, do you 'Tulu"? and added "I don't like him either". He was obviously a supreme listener and one who would dissect every topic and come to his own conclusion and opinion.
He was not just at meetings. I don't know if you know about the early movement days anywhere in the civil rights movement, the black liberation movement, church movement, or whatever, meetings dominated your life. Meetings, meetings, meetings, and more meetings and Pac would be present at all of them. He would listen intently and sometimes he would fall asleep and when he would awake I'd ask, "are you ready to leave"? And he'd always say, "No, I want to stay". Years ago, we used to do concerts for political prisoners in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and all around the country, and Pac would always be on the stage, talking and meeting everyone and everyone liked to talk to Tupac, because his eyes always indicated that he wanted to hear what you had to say. His attentiveness as a young child, was extremely powerful. He would just sit there and they just loved to talk to him, At an early age, he was of the people.
I think that when people get discouraged with others it creates a very sad emotion. We all have been, at one time or another, disappointed with someone and we respond to that disappointment. Some of us respond differently and there are some of us who might withdraw altogether. I think the movement, or the failure of it and including when I went underground, was something that he felt bad about.
I think that it was a good period in his life to be active, to focus more on family even with the tension, pressure and the smell of gun fire being a prevalent circumstance in our life. Local police, the FBI and the intelligence department of this country had a full court press on many of the people that Tupac had learned from. Mostly all of his uncles and all of the people that took care of him when Afeni and I couldn't, had been in jail, killed, had been arrested, or just a part of that environment so, he had lived that. That's not a lyric without experience. That's experience. And when you think of your uncles, aunts and all of your extended cousins and all of that...
Now, (Dr. Shakur is Showing pictures) these kids were his friends at a very important stage, and this stage was in the depth of counter intelligence against the black liberation movement. This is Tupac (points to picture). This brother's father was killed in 1974. This is the son of a brother by the name of Tyman Miles and Tyman Miles was a black liberation army soldier who was on the 10 most wanted list for 2 to 3 years until they killed him in the Bronx. This is Malika Majid and Abdul Majid's son. Malika was underground during the early 70's and this kid's father is in jail now for having been attacked and for being involved in a shoot out with police in Queens where one of them was killed. These are the people that Pac grew up with. These are the children, being children. But all of them have seen their fathers and mothers arrested and all of them have seen or had to bury someone they knew. When I couldn't pick him up, his father (points at picture) would pick Tupac up.
These are, all the kids that he grew up, and this is the pure innocence that they shared but they all experienced the complete dynamics of that era. And this is Pac. This is all Pac. This is that feeling, that comfort. This is the goofing off, this is him being with his comrades. His fraternity for friends and his brotherhood was an integral part of who he was.
Still Pac had experienced quite a bit of disappointment. From all that was transpiring in our life to my going underground in 1980. Afeni and I weren't together, but because of our mutual interest in the same movement we've always been and will continue to be friends. Afeni and I have always been comrades and just shared so much and her children have always been my children.
Others have always tried to assume who was his father but it has never been an issue. I've never indulged in a discussion of whether or not Billy Garland was his father. Obviously he was his biological father.
I'm a person who has never had a biological father, but my father was Aba Abu Shakur. Aba Abu and Salidene Shakur represented to me what a stepfather should be, and he never married my mother or really knew my mother. His son Zayd, is my brother, who was killed by the New Jersey police. Lumumba was killed in 1986 , a week before I was captured These are the people who Tupac had as uncles.
There are so many stories of the heroic people that have had a major impact on Tupac's life. Individuals that have made extraordinary, historic, brave, and admirable sacrifices are the type of individuals that he grew up around. These were legends, to us, to him and all of a sudden they just stopped making them. They just don't exist any more.
And so the legends became Nicky Bonds, Fat Cat Nichols, John Gotti, Sammy the Bull, Versace, Tommy Hillfigger, Moet, Cristal, BMW, Lexus and Triple Beam. These are today's legends. They just can't compare. They just can't compare to human beings doing objectively whatever they can for other human beings and committing their lives to it.
Stories of liberation, stories of breaking and running for freedom, stories of going to free someone from prison are the stories that heroes are made from in our history. This is what we're made of and although this might sound criminal to others, during the pit of the black liberation struggle, these are the people that Pac had as an example. People that he knew, and not just someone that he had heard of or some character that he had read about.
There can be no argument about the value that Assata Shakur has on the New African black movement in this country. And there can be no discussion of the value of Afeni Shakur in that period of history. There can be no discussion about Frankie Mae Adams or Sandra Pratt. These are aunts, women that took care of him, who fed him, took him to the movies, took him to day care. These are not people that you read about in the history books. People such as sister Fulani, among many other sisters, who've given up everything at some point in their life to do what they thought was principally right for our people.
And this was Pac. This was his family. Not always right, not always on time, not always being there, but this was his family. His life represented a historical evolution. In a different period, in a different time.
It was obvious to me that Pac foresaw his life, and I think that he saw it long ago. People disappointed him, and then he started racing. Pac and I would have conversations about suicide, and those conversations was frustrating, but they had a legitimacy to them in his own mind, because he had a value of things that he wanted to get done and he was so disappointed at people's lack of spirit and love for things.
I'm sure that the Lewisberg penitentiary telephone records would indicate all the telephone calls we had together where we fought like hell about different things, you know, we screamed and hollered. I was someone he knew that he could challenge, and get the "party started".
He became convinced that he had so much to offer and this is what we had instilled in him. The frustration was nothing compared to what we were going through. Suddenly, it was his turn. It was his turn to carry it on and obviously he wanted to make his own niche. He could not be who his mother was or who his uncles and aunts were. He had to identify what the struggle was. I used to tease him and say, "are you really a movie star"? And he would flip out. He would really go off on me. That was just a way of keeping him well grounded and to keep him focused.
He did the acting because he was very good at it and because it allowed him to help with other things that he wanted to do for his family, for his struggle, and to represent that pain. I believe that a lot of things he had to do killed his spirit and a lot of disappointment from us killed his spirit. And a lot of mistakes he made, people made him pay too much for them at such a developing age. Those individuals that are considered geniuses are forgiven for their idiosyncracies. They're forgiven because it's a pocket. Their geniuses matured and they're forgiven because the end product was so great. But, Tupac was never forgiven.
You must realize that he passed on at 26, and the years from 18- 21 are a developmental stage. That's 3 times 7, 21 before you become a man. A man based upon the numbers. And he was in the throes of that, trying to develop who he was, and so even from that perspective, in relationship to all of young black males, the identity issue, who's your father, who's your male image, what role you have.
He used to tell me that he didn't want to bring any children into this world, and I would say "Pac, have children, Pac, have a child". He would bug out and he would say "no, there's too many of them".
These are type of discussions we would fight over constantly. I asked "him what is thug life"? He replied "What do you mean by thug life"? . I again asked "What are you talking about"? He'd say "Well, I'm a thug". I in turn replied back "Well, are you and the thugs gonna beat up an old lady and take her pocketbook? Is that what you're referring to"? "No, that's not what I'm talking about". Then I would ask him "Well, what it is? I know that's not what you're talking about but you have to define it Pac. You have to define it".
When I gave him the history of thugs and thuggery, he began to understand the historical development of the words. About the Indians, and the assassins of Indians. And he'd say that his definition of thug doesn't imply that but that he did understand the point of my translation. From that to the British calling thuggery anything that happened on the planet that they didn't like up to when it came here into America and then every male child, black man child was considered a thug. We had to change all of that. I think as quiet as he's kept, he's done a lot to change what the meaning of thug is.
His genius is there, his genius has manifested and even though society has been unforgiving and its still a question. I receive letters every day from young children who could not be more than 10 when he passed form, who are now 16, 17 and I write all of them back because they love Pac and they can't love Pac from them seeing him. They have to love him because of his lyrics, his poems, etc. They probably don't get to see the hard core, They saw what was there in the end. That's why Pac put so much volume out. Hopeful that they could see what was.
I think that, just as others believe that Lennon is still here, and that Elvis is still here, it's very interesting to have an anti-hero still here, and its very interesting to have a black, new African still here. I believe that the legacy that Pac left with his writings, with his spirit, with his poetry, and his acting, his intent was to cast a spirit upon the people long after he was gone. I believe he has done that better than most. When they ask me if he still here I for one believe that there are planes of existence. I don't think that physical death is the end, necessarily. I believe there's a lot to be said and to be studied about the transition of the human spirit. And that's an honest feeling, and that's an honest discussion that we've had.
At the time when he passed form, I was locked up in ADX and then I was transferred here (Atlanta prison) and I've been in maximum security locked down. As I have said before I buried a lot of my comrades, a lot of people and our family and of our extended family. We love our family and we love our friends, because its not a passing relationship. It's been painful burying a lot of our comrades but in Pac's passing it was one of the most painful experiences that I've ever been through and especially considering that I'm experienced at this. For some reason, I held on a long time when the pain was very intense and one of the things that I realized and I have understood this years ago, but, sometimes as an individual it doesn't stick with you, and then you have to be reminded that we must let him go so that he may do the things in the other stages of life, and to manifest in the end what his true essence is about. Its hard. Its been really hard, and, because of my own mistakes, because of the pain its put on others,there has been no finality.
His mother's doing a tremendous job keeping his legacy strong but each person has a responsibility to the people they love. I feel that I haven't been able to do all the things that I needed to do for him. And I know we have to let him go,which is one of the things I'm trying to do with this CD "Dare to Struggle" (http://www.daretostruggle.com), in tribute to him, and other political prisoners and prisoners of war of our movement is just flush it out. In terms of why people think he's still alive, I think it's a good thing. There is a part of him that's continuing to move and touch people since we've, to some extent have let him go.
I think that's part of the responsibility that he's left for us to do. We must do what we can to deal with the under, the underclass, the under developed, the disenchanted, and the discouraged. To never give up. I think he's left a larger responsibility for us to do. Obviously there are some very painful experiences in his life. Obviously there are some tactical errors that he made. Obviously, there were a number of disappointments and bad choices but, taken as a whole, under the type of scrutiny, intensity, the barrage of pressure, the beatings, shootings, arrests, harassment, intimidation and jail time, considering all these things that he had to deal with, he did the best he could. I believe he truly did the best that he could.
I was isolated from him when they sent me to ADX and we maintained our communication and we tried to continue to push for certain things, but he was moving too fast. One of the things that our communication would provide for him was a sounding board. Someone who he could bounce any of his thoughts, feelings and ideas off of. Someone that he knew needed nothing or wanted nothing,someone who had his best interest at heart and someone who wanted to make sure that he was right and straight.
User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)