Tupacs’ Legacy Still Alive

In the movie “Malcolm X,” Ossie Davis characterized Malcolm as “our living black manhood.” Davis made the point that in his triumphs and his failures Malcolm X was an example to the world of all that is good and bad about African American men.

Whether you liked him or not, the truth of the matter is that he illustrated the frustration and anger of a generation of men. This Saturday marks the anniversary of the death of another man that demonstrated the frustration and anger of a generation of exploited blacks.

On September 13, 1996, Tupac Shakur died in a hospital in Las Vegas. With him died the voice of my entire neighborhood. My friends and I lost a man willing to raise questions about and bring attention to all of the ills and tragedies that we lived through everyday.

Until I heard “Brenda’s Having a Baby,” I don’t think anyone had spoken out about the fact that I had classmates in the sixth grade having children. When I hear Pac’s “I Wonder if Heaven’s Got a Ghetto,” I remember the words “life is hell,” spoken by my best friend, Cejay Davis, who was killed in a robbery.

True, there were songs released by Tupac that did not appeal to all black people. But remember, being the public representative of any group of people means displaying the good and the bad of those people.

Did he ever lie?

There is just as much honesty in “You Wonder Why We Call You B****” as there is in “Letter to the President.” I can testify that all of these scenarios are lived out in my neighborhood and neighborhoods across America.

The real crime may be that he never knew that he was our life personified on the radio and TV.

“Be a man/ make plans/ listen to your voice/ a women’s trying to make decisions/ we should leave them a choice.”

These words, taken from “The Good Die Young,” summarize the exact way I try to carry myself.

Just as one of my friends said, Tupac can’t be understood in a few hundred words. But that’s the main reason why he is the epitome of a strong, black man.

Garrison Vereen, 24, is a senior public relations student from Jacksonville.  He is deputy copy desk chief and can be reached at garrisonv2@yahoo.com.