Synopses & Reviews
One of the most visible figures in both the hip-hop and civil rights movements charts her moral and spiritual development in a stirring and poignant memoir spanning five decades.
As a child growing up in North Carolina, Alice Faye Williams knew that the most important thing her impoverished family lacked was land; as she puts it, "The land, to live on and to cultivate and pass on to my family." But there was no land, and in the end her family moved to New York, where in her late teens Alice Faye became Afeni Shakur, a radicalized, prominent Black Panther. In 1969, she was arrested along with a number of other Black Panthers on suspicion of planning bombings -- she spent eleven months on remand before women of all races raised $64,000 in cash to bail her out. She was subsequently acquitted of all charges. While in jail, Afeni Shakur was pregnant with her son, Tupac, who went on to become Tupac Amaru Shakur, a rap megastar until his tragic death in 1996.
Over the course of a decade, the renowned actress Jasmine Guy has been recording the thoughts of Afeni Shakur. In this unique book, Guy reveals the evolution of the woman through a series of intimate, revealing conversations on themes such as love, race, drugs, music, and of course her son. We see how the impoverished southern girl became a leading light in the Black Panther movement; how drugs brought her low; how her recovery filled her with new hope for herself and the future of black women everywhere; and how the work of her son has served to bring renewed hope and courage to people that this country has too often left behind.
Beautifully written, and a beacon of understanding for all Americans, Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary will stand as a powerful testament to the perseverance of one woman, and the power of change and forgiveness.
Over the course of seven years, Jasmine Guy has been talking to and recording the thoughts of Afeni Shakur, the one-time Black Panther who is now the keeper of the legacy of her son, late rapper Tupac Shakur. In this unique book Guy reveals the evolution of the woman through a series of intimate, autobiographically revealing conversations on themes such as love, race, drugs, music, and of course her son. The reader sees how the impoverished southern girl became a leading light in the Black Panther movement; how drugs brought her low; how her recovery filled her with new hope for herself and the future of black women everywhere; and how the work her son has served to bring renewed hope and courage to people that this country has too often left behind.
Over the course of the last seven years, Jasmine Guy spent countless hours taking with and recording the thoughts of Afeni Shakur, the one-time Black Panther who is now the keeper of the legacy of her son, the late rapper Tupac Shakur. Through these conversations, Guy, a longtime friend of Afeni's, came to know the innermost memories, concerns, and feelings of a woman who, despite having known more than her share of tragedy and loss, has devoted herself nonetheless to living a life fundamentally invested in the powers of hope and affirmation. "Evolution of a Revolutionary is a unique and often startlingly revealing book. Guy charts the evolution of Afeni Shakur through a series of intimate conversations that are organized around such themes as love, race, drugs, music, and, of course, her slain son. In the process, we slowly come to see how an impoverished southern girl managed to transform herself into a leading light in the radical Black Panther movement; how drugs brought her lower than she'd ever been; how her subsequent, hard-fought recovery filled her with a newfound optimism about the future of black women around the world; and, finally, how her son's enduring art continues to change countless lives and bring renewed courage to those who have been left behind. Ultimately, Afeni Shakur's story is a link to the past and a bridge to the current generation, framed by her son's life and work.
Draws on dialogues with the civil rights leader and mother of late rapper Tupac Shakur to document her activities as a Black Panther; explore the role of race, music, and drugs in her life; and consider the impact of her son's music.
About the Author
hails from Lumberton, North Carolina. She now lives in the Atlanta, Georgia, suburb of Stone Mountain. In 1997, she founded Amaru Entertainment/Records as a vehicle through which her son's work could continue to be legitimately released after his murder. Since then, Amaru Entertainment has successfully released several chart-topping albums as well a book of Tupac's original poetry with an accompanying CD -- both titled The Rose that Grew from Concrete
-- as well as the movie, book, and soundtrack Tupac: Resurrection.
Ms. Shakur also founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, Inc., based in Georgia, which provides opportunities for young people to pursue their creative and artistic dreams. The foundation is also on a mission to build the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts, a multipurpose performance arts center in Stone Mountain, Georgia. This is her first book.