Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Keep Ya Head Up

Tupac Amaru Shakur. September 13, 1996. I will always remember that day. He was a rapper that I have been a fan of since the first time I heard his voice. He was a person who intrigued me. I cannot believe it's been 15 years (yesterday) since Tupac died. This is one of my favorite pieces by Nikki Giovanni. She dedicated it to Tupac.

Nikki Giovanni “All Eyez On U” (2Pac dedication)

As I tossed and turned
unable to achieve sleep
unable to control anxiety
unable to comprehend why
2Pac is not with us

If those who lived by the sword died by the sword
there would be no white men on earth
If those who lived on hatred died on hatred there would be no KKK
If those who lived by lies died by lies
there would be nobody on wall street in executive suites
In academic offices instructing the young
Don’t tell me he got what he deserved
He deserved a chariot and the accolades of a grateful people
He deserved his life
It is as clear as a mountain stream, as defining as a lightning strike
as terrifying as sun to vampires
2Pac told the truth

There were those who called it dirty
Gansta rap inciting
There were those who never wanted to be angry at the conditions
but angry at the messenger who reported:
Your kitchen has roaches, your toilet is overflowing
your basement has so much water the rats are in the living room
Your house is in disorder
and 2Pac told you about it

What a beautiful boy
Graceful carriage, melodic voice, sharp wit
intellectual breath….what a beautiful boy to lose
Not me….never me….I do not believe east coast west coast
I saw them murder Emmett Till
I saw them murder Malcolm X
I saw them murder Martin Luther King
I witnessed them shooting Rap Brown
I saw them beat LeRoi Jones
I saw them fill their jails
I see them burning churches
Not me….never me….
I do not believe this is some sort of mouth action
This is some sort of political action and they picked well
They picked the brightest freshest fruit from the tallest tree
What a beautiful boy…..but he will not go away
as Malcolm did not go away
as Emmett Till did not go away
Your shooting him will not take him from us
His spirit will fill our hearts
His courage will strengthen us for the challenge
His truth will straighten our backbones you know?
Socrates had a mother
She too watched her son drink hemlock
She too asked why
but Socrates stood firm and would not lie to save himself
2Pac has a mother
The lovely Afeni had to bury her son
It is not right
It is not right this young warrior is cut down
It is not right for the old to bury the young
It is not right
This generation mourns 2Pac
as my generation mourned Till
as we all mourn Malcolm
This wonderful young warrior

Sonia Sanchez said when she learned of his passing she walked all day
walking the beautiful warrior home to our ancestors
I just cried as all mothers cry for the beautiful boy who said
he and Mike Tyson would never be allowed
to be free at the same time
Who told the truth about them and who told the truth about us
Who is our beautiful warrior

There are those who wanted to make him the problem
who wanted to believe if they silenced 2Pac
all would be quiet on the ghetto front
There are those who testified that the problem wasn’t the conditions
but the people talking about them
They took away band, so the boys started scratching
They took away gym, so the boys started break dancing
The boys started rapping cause they gave them the guns
and the drugs but not the schools and libraries

What a beautiful boy to lose
and we mourn 2Pac Shakur and we reach out to his mother
and we hug ourselves in sadness and shame
and we are compelled to ask:
R U Happy, Mz Tucker?
2Pac is gone
R U Happy?“

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