Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop
Part One: Tupac Shakur Conversations from a Jail cell
The message you're about to read was inspired by the late Tupac Shakur, the well-known rapper/ performing artist.
As I have stated Tupac Shakur was a member of our church, the House of the Lord Pentecostal Churches. His mother, Afeni, brought him, her daughter, Sekyiwa, and Afeni’s sister Gloria to the church for membership. Tupac was about 11 or 12 at the time. I watched him grow up for a while and then he moved to Baltimore. Occasionally we would reconnect and maintain our relationship. When he became a famous performing artist, or whenever he came to New York, his mother would always ask me to go to see him. When I did visit him he was always cordial and respectful.
When Tupac was shot five times in New York he was in and out of consciousness. There was a question if he would remain alive. He sent for me this time. I went to the hospital and prayed for him. I returned to my church about a half an hour away. When I arrived at the church one of my deacons met me at the door and asked in a very excited voice, “Did you hear about Tupac?”, I said “no”. He explained that he had heard a report that Tupac had gone. I asked incredulously, “gone where?” He said, “he left the hospital, and they are not sure where he went.” I found out a couple of years later that after I left the hospital he became strong and conscious enough to realize he was in the hospital without security and the same people that put him there may be coming after him. He called some people who took him to a safe place.
When he went to trial, I was there. The judge sentenced him to three to five years, I think. I remember him standing at the table in front of the judge where those who are on trial stand, with a painful, confused expression on his face. He said, “I didn't do anything.” From the courtroom he went to Rikers Island and from Rikers Island he went to Clinton prison in Upstate New York. I visited him every week, sometimes for hours. He told me stories about his life, what he wanted to be and of his imminent death. He felt deeply that he wasn't going to live long.
Among the things we talked about were:
1. “I didn't show up”
He told me the story about the young lady who visited him in his hotel. She had done an oral act on the dance floor and voluntarily visited him afterwards in the hotel. After they finished, she was on her way out of the hotel when his entourage grabbed her and started to abuse her. When she left, she was furious and accused Tupac of setting her up for his friends to take advantage of her. He didn't do anything wrong to her. He didn't have to as he had to fight people away from him on a regular basis. However, he said I know I am being punished for the things I did do and I know I did not show up for this young lady. I could have stopped everything, but I didn't show up. There is a lesson to learn in this, he stated, and I am going to challenge people to show up when they see someone in trouble.
2. The Wedding he never got to consummate
On this day he was always very garrulous but especially this day. He talked about the wedding with Jada. Jada was his sweetheart. He loved her very much. However, she was courting a friend of his and he didn't try to backdoor his friend. But he always had a fire of love burning in his heart for Jada. His discussion of the wedding plans included the music, flowers, photographer and the Shorties who would stand on his left side of the floor. He wanted me to perform the wedding ceremony. I was thinking to myself, while Tupac and I were discussing the wedding, why did Tupac want midgets in his wedding. I asked him, “Who are the Shorties you want to be present at the wedding?" He said the Shorties were the girls, the young ladies. We laughed about that. The wedding never happened.
Stay tuned for the next article: Name it, Frame it, Claim it!