Friday, June 16, 2006

Do It For 'Pac, Do It For Justice For All of Us And Not Just Some of Us...

Hip-hop's Next Big Stop: Capitol Hill
By Davey D

Today (Friday) marks what would have been the 35th birthday of slain rapper Tupac Amaru Shakur, and this year is the 10th anniversary of his death.

With more than 40 million albums sold, the vast majority after his murder, Tupac remains a revered figure around the world. Unfortunately, the mainstream media highlight his thug persona to the point that manyforget Tupac was the son of a Black Panther and a well-read, politically astute artist. In fact, shortly before his death, he had set in motion a plan to encourage fans to become engaged in politics.

Tupac did not believe one should just go to the polls, cast a vote and call it a day. He believed one's vote was a way to "chin check'' politicians who hadn't done right by the community. Shortly before his murder, Tupac held a press conference with Snoop Dogg and MC Hammer to announce plans for politicizing the 6 million fans who had bought his last album. Snoop and Hammer intended to do the same with their fans.

Those plans did not arise in a vacuum. Earlier, Tupac had called for action against the Berkeley City Council, which had declared a moratorium on rap concerts in its city after a violent incident at the Berkeley Community Theater. Artists and fans showed up en masse at a council meeting to demand a reversal of the decision. A Digital Underground member warned that the group already had made history by getting more than 2 million people to do the Humpty Dance and that it would be a shame if it had to make history again by urging fans to vote the council out of office.

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