Originally created 03/25/01

Slain rapper's mom speaks at area event



The memorial was one for the rapper who continues to serve as an inspiration to many of today's youths, and one whose message his mother wanted to convey in Augusta on Saturday.

He was Tupac Shakur - performer, Afeni Shakur's son and the man fatally gunned down in Las Vegas in September 1996.

At Saturday's 49th annual Memorial Pilgrimage of The House of the Lord Churches on 10th Street in Augusta, Mr. Shakur's life story was remembered with an inspirational talk by his mother designed to motivate the more than 100 youths and adults in attendance.

"You know, Tupac had a rough life," said Ms. Shakur, who in her own right achieved fame during the 1960s and 1970s as a Black Panther Party activist. "But no matter what your situation is, you can do and be anything if you believe in yourself.

"There's no time to waste in life. And, especially, I'm talking to the young people now."

Ms. Shakur journeyed to the event from Atlanta and was introduced as a revolutionary for change during a racially tense time in the United States.

"She's one of the true strugglers, the true fighters of our people's rights," said the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, who attended from New York and was Mr. Shakur's pastor until his death.

The event also featured a talent expo with several of the area's teens reciting poems and rapping in honor of Ms. Shakur's son. As they performed, Ms. Shakur looked on with tears in her eyes.

"I'd just like to say Tupac was a big inspiration to me," said 18-year-old Tyrone Dawson before performing a song for Ms. Shakur.

"We've got some future Tupacs here," Dr. Daughtry said.

For Jihad Bess, the event was likewise a chance to get as close to his idol as he would ever come. He brought CDs for Ms. Shakur to sign.

"Tupac's message of keeping your cash, but keeping it real is still with us," he said. "He was a musical messiah. A poet."

But similar to those who grew up in the inner city, Ms. Shakur said, her son had the odds stacked against him. There were times when Mr. Shakur was homeless on the streets of California. Ms. Shakur admitted that near the height of her son's popularity, she had her own troubles with drugs.

"If your mommy and daddy are using drugs, and it's interfering with your lifestyle, you have to find other people to hang around," she told the youths at the memorial. "I give you the permission. That's what my boy did."

And, even though she said her son's life ended in tragedy, she said his example of "moving toward a dream and a goal no matter what" could be a part of anyone's thinking, regardless of their background.

"It's not right to pretend that Tupac came from what he didn't come from, because Tupac is yours," she told Saturday's crowd.

Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 110.

Memorial service

What: The House of the Lord Churches will be having its National Memorial Services

Where: Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, 701 Greene St.

When: 1 p.m. today

Speaker: Dr. Herbert Daughtry of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Theme: The Dead Does Live