Attica Rebellion (09.09-13.1971); Tupac Shakur (09.06.1996);
World Trade Centers (09.11.2001)
September is a month of painful memorable events.
In the same book I wrote, “Then one morning at 1:30 AM, my wife called me into the dining room. There was excitement in her voice. She wanted to show me the china that she had placed in the cabinet. She had been up all night, shining, polishing, and arranging the furniture. The china, all of it was gold-tainted and it was absolutely gorgeous. When she looked at the bottom of each piece, what she saw blew her mind, and mine, too. Each piece appeared to have been custom-made and the price tag was still attached. It was startling what each piece cost, and there was a complete set of eight. We stood around the table, marveling at each piece. Even more, fascinated now that we knew the price. When we totaled the price tags, the cost was astronomical. There was another consideration for me that was equally important. I’m not sure how much if at all, Tupac used these pieces, but the sizable investment suggested he had something in mind. A dining room set brings to mind family sitting together, eating, laughing, conversing, and having a good time - even if only during the holidays. I felt certain that Tupac must have had family in mind when he purchased the dining room set, especially knowing that he and his mother, sister, and entire family were very close.”
Afeni gave me another priceless gift - an impressive collection of 14-CD with a large record entitled ‘From My Mind 2 the Depths of My Soul’. They were placed inside a black-emerald frame with the words, ‘Presented to Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry to commemorate RIAA-Certified combined sales of more than 35 million copies of the Amaru Entertainment Gold and Platinum album, compact discs, and cassettes.’ The CD Collection included: 2Pacalypse Now, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z, Me Against the World, All Eyes on Me, Thug Life, Wild Wild West: Gang-Related, Gridlocked, Makzely: The Don Killuminati, Above the Rim, Are You Still Down (Remember Me)? Until The End of Time, The Rose That Grew From Concrete, Greatest Hits, and Still, I Rise.
And still, there was another gift. Afeni wrote the introduction to my book, ‘Dear Tupac, Letters To A Son.’ In her own words, she expressed the anguish of losing her son, gratitude for the support of family and friends, deep religious faith, and the mutual admiration that Tupac and I had for each other. The following is her introduction:
‘In this life, no mother expects to outlive her children, yet fate sometimes deals us with this painful blow. With each anniversary of my son’s death, the void in my heart is intensified when I reflect upon the enormity of what Tupac accomplished in so few years and the contributions he would have made, had he lived.
When the pain of loss overwhelms me, I look within and seek solace in prayer and comfort from the love of family and friends. During our sojourn on this planet, we meet people and develop relationships. Some acquaintances are fleeting, others for a time, some forever.
More than 30 years ago accompanied by my sister Gloria, with Tupac and Sekyiwa in tow, we joined the House of the Lord Church pastored by the Reverend Dr. Herbert Daughtry. He entered my life and has become a ‘rock in a weary land' for me and for my family. The Pastor and I have a wonderful relationship, but the bond that developed between him and Tupac can only be called remarkable.
Drawing upon a spiritual bond of mutual love and respect, Pastor Daughtry pays homage to Tupac in a candid dialogue remembering past conversations they had together. Each letter evolves into a broader picture of a kind, sensitive, and loving young man. That young man is the son I knew and would like to share with you.’
But the greatest gifts to all of us were her love and her son - Tupac Amaru Shakur.’
So, when September rolls around, most specifically September 13, I think of the aforementioned events. Particularly I remember Tupac. I think often of him, not only during September, but during days whenever I hear rap or pass the Bellevue Hospital driving along the FDR Highway, and sometimes from out of nowhere, he comes to my mind.
I wonder why he was so set in his conviction that he wasn’t going to live long but with his mother, I wonder what he would’ve accomplished had he lived longer, say around 15 to 25 years.
Especially do I think of him when I’m speaking to young people. I have used quotes from our conversations and his records more times than I can remember. At the top of the list of quotes is the reference to how he achieved his vision. Do you remember I told you when he wanted to achieve anything, he would find a picture and put it on the wall over his bed? He would stare at the picture on the wall daily. He would not sleep in the bed until he accomplished what he put on the wall. That reference always drew applause. I will continue to think of him and share the memory until the end of my days. No, we never did get a chance to rap together in the flesh but in the spirit, we have together countless times as I have addressed crowds large and small. And I see the big goofy smile when I first mention to him the idea of our traveling together. Him rapping first and then letting me rap.