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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

Jasmine Guy Developing Afeni Shakur Biopic

The film will follow Afeni Shakur’s time in the Black Panther Party before Tupac was born.

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Political & social activist and Black Panther member Afeni Shakur (right) holds a camera as she attends a session of the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between September 4 and 7, 1970. The convention was organized by the Black Panther Party to draft a new Constitution of the United States and unify factions of the radical left. (Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images)
Political & social activist and Black Panther member Afeni Shakur (right) holds a camera as she attends a session of the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between September 4 and 7, 1970. The convention was organized by the Black Panther Party to draft a new Constitution of the United States and unify factions of the radical left. (Photo by David Fenton/Getty Images)
Photo: David Fenton (Getty Images)

In case you didn’t know, Afeni Shakur is so much more than Tupac’s mother. Now her fascinating life will get the Hollywood treatment in a biopic being executive produced by Jasmine Guy, per Variety.

Peace, Love & Respect: The Afeni Shakur/Panther 21 Story takes place “from April 2, 1969, when she and 20 other Black Panthers were arrested and charged with conspiracy to bomb police stations in New York, through June 16, 1971, the day Tupac was born.”

Actor/writer/director Guy, who wrote the biography Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary, is executive producing with Jamal Joseph, who was arrested alongside Afeni as one of the Panther 21. Dina LaPolt, who has worked with the Shakur estate for years, is producing.

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“My mother was very much a part of the civil rights movement—she taught me about Afeni and how she was arrested as a member of the Panther 21,” LaPolt said.

It’s great to see someone telling the story of the woman who shaped Tupac into the icon he would become. Long before she had her son, Afeni, who passed away from cardiac arrest in 2016, had a fulfilling life as a political activist, something that contributed to many of Tupac’s lyrics and ideas.

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“I was honored when Afeni asked me to author her biography,” Guy said. “Now, I have the opportunity to honor her life and her legacy on the screen, and I am very excited to share her remarkable story this way.”

It’s so important to get the stories of the women who made the movement. We see so many Black Panther Party films about the men essential to history, it’s past time to see how crucial women were.

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“The free breakfast programs, the medical facilities, the newsletter, information about where to go for access to education—that was run by women,” says LaPolt.

As of now, the movie is in the early stages of development, with a treatment and a rough summary. There is currently no writer, director or studio attached.

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“What we want to do is to take meetings with production companies. We would love to partner with ARRAY or Juvee Productions,” LaPolt said. “I foresee a Black woman director, screenwriter, or Black woman production company [coming on board], that would be our dream. That would be our goal.”

“Afeni always wanted Jasmine to write her book, the Shakur estate could not imagine doing Afeni’s biopic without Jasmine Guy involved,” LaPolt continued.

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Let’s talk casting for a moment. Afeni was previously played on screen by Danai Gurira in the 2017 film All Eyez on Me, and honestly, we wouldn’t mind the actress taking on the role again.

Stay with The Root, as more details and news develop on Peace, Love & Respect: The Afeni Shakur/Panther 21 Story.