In the carriage of time, the untold stories are remembered and retold by the ones who are left over. Whether it be as accurate as one would want, these stories have many levels of truths and many levels of interpretations recorded through books, oral accounts and films.
So whose truth does one believe when an icon more famous in death is memorialized through tall-tales and sighting of life, like the singer Elvis?
New Tupac Amaru Shakur biopic movie, All Eyez On Me, directed by Benny Boom, screenplay by Steven Bagatourian produced by L.T. Hutton, David C. Robinson, and James G. Robinson with a $40 million budget, so far has accumulated $27 million within the first weekend release in the United Stated, and the numbers keep climbing: It will be released worldwide at the end of the June.
The astounding storyline of young, talented hip-hop icon, “2PAC,” who rose to extreme influential fame within 5 years, selling over 75 million albums worldwide, is too compelling not to watch on the screen. The incredible fact of ripping out four successful albums while he was alive, and seven after his death is even more mind blowing: up to the year 2007, Tupac’s estate banked $9 million. And remember, he was only 25 years-old when he died …
As a remnant of this past where Tupac was only one year older than me, the movie’s timeline, rap song selections and historical placements resonated with my memories so vividly as if I was there—because I was there, in that moment of time.
However the movie reviews express from complete excellence to total disdain: fans are corrupted by their memories which clash with the creative scope of the director’s picture painted on the screen. Emotional reviews without reasoning are blasted on blogs, Facebook and other social media platforms. Key players during the life of Tupac Shakur are either unsettled by the depictions in the movie such as his high school friend actress Jada Pinkett Smith or resolved like rappers Snoop Dogg and MC Hammer.
Emotional scenes such as depictions of Tupac’s 8 months in a maximum penitentiary facility at age 23 (4 months before his 24th birthday) for an alleged sexual abuse crime (touching the buttocks) which he vehemently insisted on his innocence, helped to explain why he had to sell his soul to record producer, music executive Marion Hugh "Suge" Knight Jr. to get out of jail on bail, signing a three-page handwritten recording contract September 16, 1995 for $1.4 million dollars to produce 3 albums.
It would be the final blow most fans already knew about when Tupac was shot a second time in a drive-by shooting on the streets of Las Vegas, NV while riding as a passenger in the car with Knight that fatal night of September 7, 1996. He would die six days later an infamous death under his changed name and way of life he coined from his prison experience, Makaveli, the same name of his posthumous successful album.
But there are some positive takeaways from All Eyez On Me that cannot be ignored, such as the astounding intelligence, book smarts and exceptional writing skills Tupac had; his mother presented him with tough love through encouragement of writing his thoughts, reading on a variety of world and life topics.
Although not portrayed in the movie, Tupac was fond of the way political philosopher Niccoló Machiavelli would think, and would therefor derive his name “Makaveli.”
The movie briefly displayed his love of words and affinity for performing and citing Shakespearean plays.
Tupac was a true artisan, dropped in different landscapes as a child where he would have to repaint the picture of his life over and over again, before his masterpieces were complete—his mother’s intermittent drug problem implied the interruption of his childhood straight to manhood.
One thing the movie All Eyez On Me consistently described was his love for his people, ancestry and history; being proud of who he was as a Black man, instilled graciously by his mother and step-father who were Black Panthers. His upmost respect for women, especially Black women, as he would mount his mother on the Queen’s pedestal in the movie, would serve as an obvious irony for the bunk sexual abuse charge involving an arbitrary woman.
2PAC was an authentic fearless reporter of his daily reality; he was the voice for the masses of people who had no voice, and no one to hear their echoing pains – and this was revealed in the film. It also depicted the hardship of the Black man and the Black woman—harassment from the FBI, harassment from the local corrupted police , the unfair justice system toward people of color, the devastation of drugs in poor communities, and the severe economic constraints by design in the ghettos.
2PAC was the 20th century lyrical William Shakespeare who created a threatening platform that the majority establishment feared because they did not understand him or his constituents. It was raw. It was uncut. But it was a voice that millions could hear, feel and know it was real—that is why he sold millions of records. He was born to be the outspoken poetic justice for his time, although short lived – we ALL heard him and still do today.
Perhaps every aspect of Tupac’s life was not in this picture, but the essence of the truth was apparent, real and depicted clearly in the film.
Go watch All Eyez On Me for its important historical and political indifference references, and portrayal of “2PAC’s” talent, drive and success as a role model for the voiceless.