Comedian Mike Epps hosted a celebration for fallen icon Tupac Shakur on what would have been the rapper’s 39th birthday. An outdoor concert was scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. on the grounds of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center For The Arts just outside of Atlanta. Artists scheduled to perform included Bunn B, Roscoe Dash and Rick Ross among others. A 13-year veteran of Tupac’s group, the Outlawz, was also there and performed his new single “Half Dead, Half Living” which was released on June 15.
The gathering before the concert was much like a street fair. There was music, games, art and Moo’s Chicken. Jemala Lesane, also known as Moo, is Tupac’s first cousin. Her special recipe and method of cooking fried chicken made Moo’s the only kind Pac would eat. S2S chopped it up with Moo and her daughter, Imani, for a while, but they were not coming off the family secrets. Admittedly, it was the best fried chicken we’ve ever tasted (sorry, mom).
Those of us living in Atlanta have been dealing with an ongoing heat wave putting the temperatures at a dangerous 100 degrees or more. Just as Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, hit the stage to do her welcome, the sky opened up and it began to rain buckets. Everyone was torn between being disappointed that the show was shut down and being thakful that there was some sort of relief from the unbearable heat. Although most people scattered to try to get under some sort of shelter, there were some die hard Tupac fans that didn’t budge at the mere thought of losing their seats for the show.
The doors were opened to the center were opened short after the first drops fell. While inside, S2S sat down with Afeni for an intimate conversation about the miracle that happened in her personal life. It’s so juicy, we have to save it for the next issue of Sister 2 Sister.
When asked what she would give her son on this day, she stated “I would give him these children connected to this center and who try to honor his ethics.”
“Tupac didn’t have any biological children, but he had embraced and tried to adopt a lot of children in trouble,” Afeni explained. “What I know is if we didn’t do anything else right, we did this according to his wishes. This, I don’t have a doubt about. From his point of view, we did this most perfectly and now we just have to keep on doing it.”
The concert resumed after the rain died down. Although, the lightning stopped, there was still a lot of thunder. Mike explained that the noise was simple “Pac letting us know that the show is still going on and the angels are doing their work.”
That seemed evident as the multicultural crowd bobbed their heads while remembering the rapper that sold over 75 million records worldwide. The man that, at some defining point, rapped the soundtrack to their lives. Even with all the great music and positive energy in the air, everyone was painfully aware that it will take a lot to keep Tupac’s dreams alive. Shakira Farrakhan who performed in spoken word said it best when she recited “The word is delivered but the work is not done.”
The entire staff of the center was very grateful for Mike as he donated his time for this event. It seems that Mr. Funny Man is doing well for himself.
Word on the street is that he matched Snoop Dogg’s $20,000 bet against Donnie Wahlberg, stating that if the Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA Championship, then the money will go to Snoop’s Youth Football League. If the Boston Celtics win, it will go to the Wahlberg Foundation. We’re with Mike, though. Our money is in the Lakers.
– Stephanie Dayton