The fierce and fearless mother of slain rapper Tupac Shakur was remembered by old-school Black Panthers and activists on Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y., reports Brooklyn News 12.
Afeni Shakur was a former Black Panther and member of the Panther 21, who were jailed on conspiracy charges to bomb police stations, department stores and other public places in New York City in 1969. According to accounts, Afeni Shakur represented herself, despite objections from her co-defendants. Yet after she cross-examined police witnesses, she was seen as largely responsible for defeating the prosecution’s case. The Panther 21 were freed in 1971.
The New York Daily News reports that more than 150 friends and supporters, many of them former Panthers, turned out at a memorial service for Shakur at the House of the Lord Church and celebrated her through live performances, music and speeches.
One of the late rapper’s most famous and emotionally raw songs, 1995’s “Dear Mama,” referred to Afeni Shakur as a “black queen.”
“She was brilliant, she was erratic, she was gorgeous, she had lots of energy,” said Kathleen Cleaver, former communications secretary for the Black Panther Party, to NY1. “This is someone who graduated from performing arts, so essentially she was a very gifted teenager who wanted to be an actress but she ended up a revolutionary.”
“She was a super person, a member of this church with two parts, and that was the love that she had,” said longtime activist Herbert Daughtry, national minister at the House of the Lord.
It was recently announced that Afeni Shakur, who executive-produced a short-lived Broadway show on Tupac’s life, Holler If Ya Hear Me, will be portrayed by actress Danai Gurira in Tupac’s forthcoming biopic, All Eyez on Me.
Afeni Shakur died of what is believed to have been a heart attack in Sausalito, Calif., on May 2, at age 69.