Pop Culture Intervention

How The Tupac Biopic Gave Me A Greater Appreciation Of The Bond Between A Mother And Her Child

“You gotta enter in somebody’s world in order to lead them out."

The unbreakable bond between mother and child was deeply evident in the Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me, which hits theaters nationally on Friday.

Through drug addiction, prison, and conflict resonating from life growing up in the 'hood, Tupac and his mother, Afeni Shakur, were the beating heart each other needed when they fell into darkness. Whether it was the rapper holding his mother up or vice versa, their unconditional love for one another never faltered.

"Ain't a woman alive that could take my mama's place," he wrote in "Dear Mama," his dedication to her off his 1995 release, Me Against the World.

The biopic touched on everything from Pac's rise to fame, to his struggles as a public figure, which included court cases and jail time. The film's constant, like their relationship in real life, was the mother-son bridge that breathed new life into them time and time again.

Tupac recited Shakespeare because of his mother. He fought to have dismal stories of street life — such as his 1991 song "Brenda's Got a Baby," which was based on a true story, and which record label executives didn't want on his album — not only remain on his album, but to be a single released nationally, because that was his way of giving voice to a community that was often silenced.

"You gotta enter in somebody's world in order to lead them out," Tupac, played by Demetrius Shipp Jr., said in the biopic.


That confidence and relentlessness he possessed were absolutely learned behaviors from his mother, who was a member of the Black Panther Party, a businesswoman, an activist, and a philanthropist before her untimely death in May 2016, nearly 20 years after Tupac was gunned down in 1996, a murder case that has yet to be solved.

Tupac may have been a lot of things in the public eye — a gangsta rapper, a hoodlum who objectified women, etc. Agree or disagree, what was truly evident was that he was a wordsmith, a poet, and one of the most influential figures in hip-hop history.

While the world had all eyes on him, his heart of heart remained with his mother and the strength she provided in his life. Sure, there are plenty of Pac's songs deemed club bangers that can get the party started, but there's also those heartfelt tracks that show a softer side of the man that can rival many of the today's biggest rappers.

His words are timeless, like in his 1993 release "Keep Ya Head Up," with lyrics like, "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 women / 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 / I know you're fed up ladies / But keep your head up." 

In the biopic Tupac says, "Mom, I wouldn't be the man I am without you."  

"All Eyez On Me" is in theaters Friday, June 16. Check out one of its trailers below:


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