Today, the world is saddened by the news of the passing of Afeni Shakur. Born Alicia Faye Williams on January 10th, 1947, in her early 20s she would change her name to Afeni, derived from a Yoruba term rooted in Western Nigeria, loosely meaning “lover of people” and/or “health.” An activist throughout her life, perhaps most notably in the mid-late 1960s as a member of the Black Panther, Shakur was most recently the Founder and CEO of Amaru Entertainment, Inc., and the subject of noted actress, Jasmine Guy’s 2004 book titled, Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary.
That said, Afeni is best known for being the mother of Tupac Shakur, one Hip Hop’s gradest figures, and arguably its most impactful. After Tupac’s passing in the 1996, she created Amaru Entertainment as platform against which to release his posthumous material, which included several books and albums, a licensed film biography called Ressurection, and a Broadway musical titled Holler If You Hear Me. A saavy businesswoman and noted philantropist as well, Afeni also used her platform to establish Makaveli Branded clothing in 2003 and most notably, Tupac Amaru Foundation for the Arts, an organization right outside of Atlanta serving youth of all social and economic backgrounds, giving them knowledge, skills, and courage to stay steer clear of the perils of the street line and instead positively impact their communities.
Simply put, for the reasons above and many more, Afeni was a game changer, and she will be missed. She selflessly battled her entire life for her children, her people, and her communities, and without question left an indelible mark. Her legacy, much like her son’s, will live forever. Rest in Power, Mrs. Shakur.
“You always was committed. A poor single mother on welfare, tell me how you did it! There’s no way I can pay you back, but my plan is to show you that I understand. YOU ARE APPRECIATED!”