The woman who gave birth to rap legend Tupac Shakur has died. Afeni Shakur died on Monday, May 1. Authorities raced to her home in response to a 911 call of a possible cardiac arrest. She was transported to a local hospital and died around 10:30 p.m. that evening.
Shakur, born Alice Faye Williams, changed her name when she joined the Black Panther Party. Her activities with the organization saw her charged with conspiracy to bomb multiple, busy city landmarks in 1969.
In 1971, she was acquitted of all charges and she gave birth to Tupac a month after her release. Her struggles and ideology influenced her son and she was the inspiration for his 1995 hit “Dear Mama” in which he wrote, “There’s no way I can pay you back/But the plan is to show you that I understand/You are appreciated.” After Tupac was shot to death in 1996 in Las Vegas, she was in charge of his estate which at the time was generating $900,000 a year. In addition, while Shakur lived in Stone Mountain, Georgia, she founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts. The organization had a substantial and positive impact on Black youth across metro Atlanta. Unfortunately, the center recently closed its doors, leaving a significant gap in supporting young Black talent.
Atlanta was the recent filming location for the Tupac Shakur biopic project titled All Eyez On Me. The role of Afeni Shakur is being played by actress Danai Gurira, who plays the character Michonne on the hit TV show the “Walking Dead.” The movie is expected to be released in November of this year and Shakur was the executive producer on the project. Earlier this year, she was embroiled a contested divorce with her husband of 12 years, Gust Davis. One of the issues in the divorce was control over the Tupac Shakur estate and the demand by Davis of $20,000 per month in spousal support from Afeni Shakur.