Muhammad Ali, Prince, Vanity, Kimbo Slize, Phife Dawg, Antronie Scott, and Afeni Shakur are merely a few of the black lives we have lost so far in 2016. In 2015, law enforcement accounted for 1,134 deaths total with 15% of that number belonging to African American males between the ages 15 to 34. Regardless of accounting for only 2% of the total U.S population, black males were nine times more likely to be killed by police last year.
"They are gonna give you the tools that you need to kill yourself"
Gut wrenching words from the narration of the first teaser for Tupac Shakur's biopic "All Eyez on Me." With the trailer dropping today, it is definitely a great way to celebrate the legend's birthday.
Tupac was a man with a strong set of values and he continuously spoke out about injustice in a very direct and uncensored manner. Many rappers have incorporated politics into their music, with some doing it successfully while others fail by allowing the negativity in their music to overshadow the positive. Tupac was unique, in this context and others. If I were to ever label a rapper as the rap version of Malcolm X it would, without a doubt, be him. In nearly every interview, he can be found referencing the uplifting of the black community, police brutality, or some other closely related topic. This is what I've always thought gave him the edge in the Tupac vs. Biggie conversation; his music had a direct purpose.
In 1995, while Tupac was serving his time at the Clinton Correctional Facility, the "Tupac Uncensored and Uncut The Lost Prison Tapes" was recorded. This is a beautiful interview that must be watched before your eyes leave this screen. In the beginning of the interview, he shuts down the idea that he promotes violence by referencing how each of his albums contain lyrics that demonstrate his struggle to uplift the black community and expose the walls created to hinder said community. The interview covers numerous topics, but the most intriguing to me was his call to take back the communities. He states how the young Black and Hispanic male will be targeted by the government and by looking at the news today, his words have taken prophetic form because they have become reality.
Donald Trump has attacked nearly every community except the white community. Every chance he has gotten, he has attacked the Hispanic/Latino community. Promoting the idea of building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, he has depicted the Mexican community as violent rapists that want to take American jobs. With the presidential election monopolizing the media's attention, Trump's idiotic words have been convincing some to believe what he believes, making the Hispanic/Latino community a target.
As 2016 lags on, it has become apparent that the attention social media was giving to police brutality, black injustice, and injustice in general is diminishing. In 2015, social media erupted with the cases of Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown Jr, and a few others being at the forefront of what was developing into a movement to fight against abuse. This movement has declined and the black community has began to separate once again. The facts are here, 2015 displayed how black males were targeted. It's no longer an issue of evidence, it is now an issue of the black community, other minority communities as well, coming together and speaking out in the same manner Tupac spoke out before he was taken and then taking action. His words and actions that sought to uplift the communities plagued with injustice are what we should all keep in mind today on his birthday.
Happy Birthday to the late, great Tupac Shakur.
Heres the "Tupac Uncensored and Uncut The Lost Prison Tapes" interview.