Afeni Shakur, mother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, has passed away Monday night (02/05/16) after suffering what is believed to be a cardiac arrest.
Deputies from the Marin County Sheriff’s Department responded to a suspected cardiac arrest situation at Afeni’s home at 9:34 p.m before transporting her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead less than an hour later.
Afeni, who was born Alice Faye Williams in North Carolina, changed her name to Afeni Shakur after moving to New York City and joining the Black Panther movement. Her most famous involvement with the political party was when her and a number of other Panthers were arrested in 1969 and charged with conspiracy to bomb multiple New York City landmarks. Afeni defended herself in the case, while being pregnant with Tupac, and was eventually acquitted of all charges in 1971, giving birth to the rapper one month later.
After the tragic shooting of her son in 1996, Afeni took over Tupac’s estate, which reportedly earned her upwards of US$900,000 each year. Afeni used that money to carry on the legacy of Tupac, founding the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts in Stone Mountain, Georgia, which provides artistic opportunities for young people by encouraging them to participate in a range of programs including drama, dance, creative writing and more. Afeni also played an integral part in greenlighting the Tupac biopic, All Eyez on Me, which recently finished filming.
As an activist, a philanthropist and a mother, Afeni Shakur’s passing will undoubtedly stop the hip-hop world and beyond as they come together to mourn a woman who was not only an outspoken individual regarding issues facing African-Americans, but raised a son who went on to become one of the most important figures in hip-hop history.
Rest in peace, Afeni Shakur. We’ll let your son play you out.