The Poetry Hub: Tupac Shakur

Vivian Coleman, Staff Writer

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How many people have fallen victim to ignorance, have judged someone by the color of their skin, the culture of their tongue, or the squalor many have grown up in? Tupac Shakur, born Lesane Parish Crooks, asked the same questions, if not more. He created a legacy for himself using his Poetic Justice. However, in this modern era, Shakur is less appreciated for his words and more remembered for his death and hood image. 

It is a well-known fact that celebrities become renown after their death. The death of Shakur was no different. Shakur knew about his upcoming demise and welcomed it through his poetry. He attempted to resolve the issues that he felt were detrimental to his people and his community through his rap style and poetry. Few realize that Tupac Shakur is an actual published poet, which earns him the spotlight for this week. In a day and age were individuals are too vain to speak up about what matters most, it is important to remember Shakur’s wisdom.

It was written that a rose by any other name is still a rose; however, Shakur thought differently. In his poem “The Rose that Grew from Concrete,” Shakur writes about a rose that sprouted from the concrete to represent the black community as they struggled to prosper in spite of societal norms and stereotypical conformity: “Proving nature’s law is wrong it learned to walk without having feet.”  Tupac continues the piece by using irony to emphasize that despite those that wanted to stop the “rose” it discovered fresh air by “keeping its dreams.” He concludes, “Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else cared.” This reaffirms the idea that this piece was meant to express the longevity of the African American culture despite those who disapproved. 

Tupac Shakur’s words range from women empowerment— “And since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman and our game from a woman, I wonder why we take from our woman. Why we rape our women, do we hate our women? I think it’s time to kill for our women. Time to heal our women, be real to our women and if we don’t, we’ll have a race of babies That will hate the ladies, that make the babies. And since a man can’t make one, He has no right to tell a woman when and where to create one. So will the real men get up […]” to street violence awareness: “How many brothers fell victim to the streets?”  However, as his career furthered, Tupac became cognizant of his impending demise: “I will die before my time Because I feel the shadow’s Depth.” In his piece, “In the Event of My Death”, he conveys, “when my heart can beat no more, I hope I die for a principle or a belief that I lived 4.” 

It is instrumental that he is remembered for his message rather than “the wrong crowd” that we went along with. These words spoken decades prior are arguments relevant today: women’s abortion rights, domestic abuse, gun violence, etc. Tupac is more than a t-shirt worn by adolescents. He is more than an aesthetic. Shakur spoke volumes in the short amount of time he existed.