|Written by Staff ID29|
|Thursday, 23 September 2004 23:08|
Mutulu Shakur's Letter to his son Tupac.
This letter was written the night of Tupac's death from the cell of his stepfather, Mutulu Shakur, inside the federal penitentiary in Florence, Colo.
I love you whenever...forever. Tupac, so much I needed to say, so much you wanted to say. Many conversations between us within the ether, whenever...forever.
The pain inflicted that scarred your soul but not your spirit gave force to rebellion. Many couldn''t see your dreams or understand your nightmares. How could they, Tupac? I knew your love and understood your passion. But you knew of your beginning and saw your end...racing toward it.
You taught and fought through your songs and deeds. RATT-TATT-TATT of words penetrating the contradiction of our existence. Whenever...forever.
Who cares? We cared, Tupac. The Shakur's have been guided by struggle, prepared or not, whenever...forever. We''ve exposed our existence, naked from fear, to those who would hear the positive. Who would witness the stress, wear and tear of this lonely path. You couldn''t have evaded the effect or the changes. You inherited it, it was in your genes.
But still, you danced your dance, you lived your life. You forced loyalty on those who would fake and shake at the true vision. You were Tupac.
Like the four seasons, we come to this planet taking form, becoming elements of nature. Some of us are only one season, and others like you were part on many seasons. This dynamic will scare most anyone who realized the burden at such an early stage of life. You fought well. We love you. We understand...forever, whenever.
Please give my love to our family. Ask them to help you on the other side. Tell Zayd, Lumumba, Abu, Brother Leggs, Mtaryi, Attallah, that they are to continue to help us down there. Shakur's love is strong. Whenever...forever.
Friday the 13th didn''t mean a thing. Life is for living and dying well. Whenever...forever. Allah knows best. We choose the quality of our life. You understand the pain of disappointment in the ones we love. You pushed so many away. Burnt so many bridges so they wouldn''t follow you into battles against the demons you were facing. Knowing well to what lengths you would go. This battlefield of reality is littered with many meaningless casualties.
You never yelled out, "Somebody, save me!" You only asked for your soul to be free, whenever...forever. You told us to keep our head up, knowing the pain was coming. Knowing to look for the strength in the heavens. Set your soul free, Tupac Amaru.
We keep waiting in vain for their love. Will your levitation be the awakening of us all? The division unsettling to our dreams and goals? Your passing demanding repentance and resistance? We keep waiting, not in vain. We give you love. Give us love. To my brother and son, these emotions are hell. I wish you well in the next journey. My soul aches for comfort.
For now, Tupac, we will hold our heads up. This journey is at an end, your ashes are in the wind. Friends and enemies will have to look to the stars. You are truly a star. A star navigating through the dynamics of this, your path chosen before you arrived. Lessons we''ve gained will materialize after you''re gone. Whenever...forever.
Your family will keep the spirit high, for we are Shakurs. We are thankful for what life gives us. Through the pain and the struggle we are blessed by the victory. Go forward, Tupac.
The victories-we will teach your mission, we are thankful for you. We love you, Tupac Shakur. We ain''t mad at you, we''ll be better because of you.
So now I give you my tears so that I might assimilate your loss and I can live on in peace.
Knowing I will feed your spirit with my unconditional love, knowing you will need it on your next journey.
"Resistance" and "Thankful"...one's name is the life's program for it's bearer: Tupac Shakur. We will help them to understand your mission and journey.
May Allah bless you for your deeds and forgive your errors.
Tupac come to me and give me strength.
Your father, friend, comrade,
Along with all the musical tributes to Tupac, there are many interviews with family & ''friends'' talkin real about him. Some of those articles can be found here.
To start off here is what Keisha Morris - Shakur had to say about Tupac in a Source article from Oct. 2000.
Words By Keisha Morris-Shakur
The Source October 2000
Keisha Morris-Shakur was Tupac's ex-wife in this section she reveals how she met Tupac and there life together.
"I can''t lie every woman wants a man with a little bit of thug in him so that's were our relationship started who knew that Tupac would one day be my husband?" -Keisha Morris Shakur
Tupac and I were total opposites. He was the controversial superstar and I was a naive college student who had seen him on TV but knew very little about the world he lived in. I''d met Tupac briefly at a party in June of 1994. Then about a month later, he saw me at the Tunnel night club in New York. He ran up to me and remembered our prior meeting. Smiling, Tupac said "I''m not gonna let you get away this time we have to go out" I laughed and told him "I didn''t want to just be another one of his women" we started dancing and Tupac, who was used to girls coming onto him, got to close. He was in shock that I wasn''t responding as anticipated. After he gave me all of his phone numbers, I immediately asked him "Do you have a girlfriend?" He said "No" I didn''t believe him because Tupac was a charmer. So I was a bit confused why he was sop interested in me. But I can''t lie every woman wants a man with a little bit of thug in him so that's were our relationship started who knew that Tupac would one day be my husband? A few days later, he invited me to his house in Atlanta for the weekend when I got off the plane, I couldn''t find Tupac but he spotted me and shouted "Keesh!" He was wearing a red bandana and a hockey jersey. There were butterflies in my stomach and he made the moment even nicer when he ran over to me and hugged me. And we shared our first kiss he took my bags and we went to his house. It was in the suburbs, near Decatur. It looked like a teenager lived there clothes, CD's and spoiled food containers littered the house I cleaned up the mess and made dinner. That Sunday night, Tupac was driving me around in his low-rider we ended up at his family's house for Sunday dinner. When we drove up he introduced me to his two rottweilers Bonnie and Clyde. He said they were his dogs but his uncle took care of them. Then I met most of the family, including his sister Sekiywa and mother, Afeni. They were all cordial but I still felt like the outsider that I was. That next morning I got onto the plane. Although I had a wonderful weekend with Tupac, I was still uneasy about our relationship. What was I getting myself into? Thankfully Tupac kept in touch. And when he was back in New York, we suddenly began living together. He first left an outfit at my apartment in Harlem. Soon, he had keys and more clothes in my closet than I did. Sometimes when I miss him I wear his New York Rangers Hockey jersey. Everyday, the first thing Tupac would do when he came home was take off his shirt as he liked to say "I wanna show off my buff body and tattoos" (You know he was only about 5,7, 165 pounds) Tupac loved to cook for me. His favorite meal was macaroni and cheese, washed down with Sunkist Orange Soda. Tupac didn''t like to wash dishes or clean up "I am a superstar, I don''t have to clean" he would tell me. It didn''t bother me because I was falling in love with him. Tupac was also enjoying domestic life. This was the closest thing that he could have to a relationship that he could have had then. At that time he said he had only had four real girlfriends and I was the only one that he really loved. And one day I would be his wife. Tupac asked me to marry him three months after we started dating. He came home one day and held out his hands. He asked me if I noticed anything new, and I said "No, did you get a manicure?" he showed me his new ring that he bought for $30,000 and laughed and since I didn''t notice his new ring, he was going to give what he had bought for me to our dog, Playa. Then he took out the little velvet box and put it in the dogs mouth and said that ring is for you. Then Tupac said "I want you to marry me" I was puzzled I ran over to playa and grabbed the box and opened it. It was a seven carat platinum ring shaped like a queen's crown. I didn''t have a chance to say yes or no, ''cause he said we are gonna get married on your birthday in November. He told me never to take the ring off because that would be the end of the relationship. All that I could say was "Ok" he left to go to the studio and I immediately went to my friends house to show off my ring. About an hour later he rang me to say you couldn''t wait he was right! at that point you couldn''t tell me anything I was going to be Tupac's wife. But things were about to get complicated Tupac's New York sex trial was starting he was finishing his Me Against The World album and working on Bullet with Mickey Rourke. He told me that his court cases were weighing heavy on his mind but our relationship was still thriving that was until he got shot 5 times in Quad Studios. Hearing the news, I went into a state of shock. Afeni and I hopped into a car and headed over to the hospital. I was there when he arrived at the hospital I nearly passed out when his road manager updated me on the Tupac's condition. He was gonna live but he had to stay in the hospital for a while. As he was recovering I was sat next to his hospital bed when we heard about the verdict. Since it wasn''t a total conviction we weren''t quite sure what the decision meant. His lawyers came to explain everything. Tupac was very quit and he asked me how I felt. It was tough for him as well as me. At that point I had to make a decision to stay with him or to leave him alone. It's difficult to say what you would do when your feelings are involved and you care about someone my heart told me to stay with him because I felt that Tupac needed me during this time it's not what I expected or I wanted to go through. We were supposed to be making wedding plans not preparing for him to go to jail. So I didn''t want to abandon him I loved him so much that I didn''t want to judge or assume anything. I had to let time solve things. Unfortunately, Tupac began making things very difficult. He was trying to get his business, career and finances in order while facing legal battles. The stress of his album the pressure of bullet 9i remember him preparing for the part at home) and everything else would cause him to have temper tantrums all the time becoming short with everyone, including me. I didn''t know much about his Gemini side until he started flipping sometimes he would come home and not talk to me at all. Tupac had two personalities. He would yell at me and then be my best friend after. At first when he did it I would take it personally and be ready to cry Afeni told me to be strong and not worry about it. Right now he needed me more than ever. Tupac always told me I could not be weak. Once Tupac was placed in the Clinton Correctional Facility Tupac asked me to handle all of his business with his lawyers managers and record company because he wanted me to represent him, he felt it would be better and easier if I were married to him. I was kinda hesitant but I agreed. So we decided to wed four months later in a quick ceremony in the prison. We had marriage counseling before we did it when the judge asked me "Keisha, do you take Tupac and all of his worldly possessions" Tupac turned to me and said "Keesh, you can''t have my pool table or my big screen TV" When we got married Tupac said he wanted to have kids his publicist and our close friend Karen Lee, was shocked to see how much Tupac had changed. She had never heard him talking about marriage or children Tupac picked out names he wanted to move to Arizona and name our Daughter Star and our son Michelangelo. I liked Star but not Michelangelo, we tried to have kids but the weed that Tupac smoked affected us. Tupac also had visions of our future. Tupac wanted me to get the respect that I deserved for being there for him but at the same time he didn''t appreciate what I was doing. I remember one day he asked me to make a three way call for him I knew that the woman calling was a famous actress I put the phone down but when I picked it up to see if he was nearly done, I could hear him having an intermit conversation with her. It was very insulting to me he was making plans with another woman. Many people said that Tupac married me for conjugal visits. That's not true. We never had sex when he was in jail. He did not feel like that was a place to be intimate or exposed like that.
Is This The End?
I had to separate from Tupac after he got released from jail because, though he loved me we knew he couldn''t be married. My love was sincere from my heart, but at times I did not feel the same from him. I never asked for anything materialistic, because that's not why I wanted to be with him. When you are out for things that don''t belong to you it will come back to harm you later. Now, I look back at our relationship and realize it was not a bad thing. We were still friends until the day he passed on. We still saw each other occasionally and spoke all the time. Yes it still hurts sometimes when I can''t call Tupac and joke around with him. But our relationship has made me the full-rounded woman that I am today. Tupac will always be in my heart and a part of my life
Over the years artists have shown their luv and feelings for pac through songs. below, are a list of just some that are worth hearing:
-Ain''t Died In Vain - Rondo & Outlawz
Here and there there have been whole mixtapes dedicated to 2pac, with some of his own classic songs remixed. These can sometimes be done to just get paid off a dead man, so u must be careful what u buy and listen to. Some had no intention of tributing pac.
Sometimes artists who didn''t like tupac tries to also tribute him - and it was very obvious who they were as they didn''t mean it. It's no use in mentioning there ames, but some u can tell are real hypocrites.
The really deep ones are the songs done by people who knew pac best, or who had rolled with him at times.
Marion "Suge" Knight (Death Row Records CEO)
"On the cover of Makaveli he's on a cross, you know, shot up, being crucified and you know, it's real, it's real deep. I mean Pac got shot on the seventh and that's deep. You know, Jesus on the seventh day. And you know he went on to a better place on the thirteenth."
Shock G/Money-B (Digital Underground)
"If you want to mourn, do it for your own personal loss. Don''t mourn for ''Pac, remember him for his art and don''t be sad for his death. ''Pac lived a short, fast, concentrated, an intense life. He lived a 70 year life in 25 years. He went out the way he wanted: in the glitter of the fast life, hit record on the charts, new movie in the can, and money in the pocket. All ''Pac wanted was to hear himself on the radio and see himself on the movie screen. He did all that --- and more."
Janet Jackson (Poetic Justice)
"I feel very fortunate to have seen another side of Tupac, someone who was very caring and loving, a contrast to his public image. He will be missed by many."
Omar Epps (Juice)
"Pac was just the truth. He always brought it from the heart. Sometimes the truth hurts or the truth can set you free. In his case, it did both. Some said he was the rappin'' Nostradamus, like he could prophesy. But he was just saying that ill shit that niggas be thinking and no one wanted to say. The thing was, he lived his life in a way that the lyrics had to come true. He just went all out. Everyday was his first and last"
E-40 (fellow Rapper)
"''Pac was hated by a few but loved by many, and those who hated him didn''t even know him, I truly believe that there will never be another rapper who can uplift spirits and explain the ups an downs of everyday life through rap music like ''Pac"
Snoop Doggy Dogg (fellow Rapper)
"I feel we need to come up with some soft of Tupac Black on Black Crime fund. And some sort of ceasefire. If it was an East Coast/West Coast or not, we need to put a stop to this before it gets out of hand"
Snoop on Tupac's Alive theory:
"People need to let him rest in peace, let that rumor rest in peace. Because, you know what I''m sayin'', it's a hard pill to swallow, people don''t want to accept it, we don''t want to accept it, first of all, and the public don''t want to accept it, so they gonna keep that myth or that philosophy going on as long as they can because his music lives on and he's a legend, you know what I''m sayin''. When you make legendary music, people don''t want to believe you''re gone. Like Elvis, they keep saying Elvis ain''t dead you know what I''m sayin'', but it's just all about the individual himself, he was a legend and everybody don''t wanna let it go."
Rev. Jesse Jackson
"This is so, so sad. Sometimes the lure of violent culture is so magnetic that even when one overcomes it with material success, it continues to call. Tupac just couldn''t break the cycle."
Havoc (Mobb Deep)
"I loved him before the confrontation; I loved him, and I loved his music. We was planning to see him but we didn''t even get the chance. It's sad, man. I think the streets killed him. It wasn''t no East Coast/West Coast thing, it was the streets. I think it was his mouth that killed him."
Prodigy (Mobb Deep)
"Between my crew and people over there on the West Coast, it's sad to see where it's going. I don''t know how this started, but we need to get together. Once everybody can calm down, relax and put our troubles behind us, we can strive for a better tomorrow."
Treach (Naughty by Nature)
"My man ''Pac, he didn''t have a criminal record until he made a record. Once you get into the light, a lot of stuff comes on to you. One thing I can say, he was one of the realest niggas that lived. He said whatever was on his mind; he never bit his tongue for nuthin''"
Minister Conrad Muhammad
"To lose a young man like Tupac Shakur will brilliance and talent, at 25 years old, is indicative of what black males in this society are facing. We are not living long enough to realize our full potential. Malcolm X, in his young years, was a gangbanger, a drug dealer. Tupac would have evolved naturally, but black men are dying before they get to"
"When I saw Juice, Tupac's performance jumped out at me like a tiger. Here was an actor who could portray the ultimate crazy nigga. A brother who could embody the freedom that an "I don''t give a fuck" mentality gives a black man. I thought this was some serious acting. Maybe I was wrong. During the filming of Poetic Justice, ''Pac both rebelled and accepted my attitude towards him as a director/advisor. This was our dance in life and work. We''d argue, then make up. Tupac spoke from a position that cannot be totally appreciated unless you understood the pathos of being a nigga, a displaced African soul, full of power, pain, and passion, with no focus or direction for all that energy except his art."
"To me he's like the James Dean of our times. Basically, a rebel without a cause. And the industry and the media are partially responsible for whatever goes down: in accenting the negative aspects of a black celebrity. It's the soup-up, gas-up treatment. They soup him up, they''re not there on the downside. People thing that this man's life was entertainment. One of our best talents is gone over some bullshit. I''m fuckin'' pissed. I ain''t putting up tears. Tears ain''t gonna do a damn thing. Interscope will go on to sell 10 million copies of this album. Make a scholarship fund out of their share of the money. That's what I call making things happen."
"Me and ''Pac, we laughed a lot during Above the Rim. It's not like being with this ill gangsta that everyone portrayed his as. We used to go in the trailer and just crack jokes. We used to tease him and say he should cross out the T on his chest and change his image to HUG LIFE"
Gerard (High School Friend)
"First time I ever saw Tupac, he was in eighth grade. I seen this kid that had this shirt with the old school iron-on letters, MC NEW YORK. And he was rhyming. All these people was around him -- even back then. We was adversaries at first, but we formed a crew. Born Busy and shit, MC New York, DJ Plain Terror, Ace Rocker, and my man D on the beat box. Taking mad peoples out--the invincibles. Then we started writing little rhymes for Jada (Pinkett). Jada was rhyming a little bit too. Don''t Sleep."
Coolio (fellow Rapper)
"I know for a fact that it's not an East Coast/West Coast thang. What happened was, you know, it was a street thang. Sometimes when you put yourself in a situation, you get caught up in another situation. Tupac had a knack for doing that. Despite some of his shortcomings, he always gave you something with his music. He gave you some things to think about or he gave you something to laugh about or he gave you something to cry about."
Heavy D (fellow Rapper)
"The most unfortunate thing that has ever happened in the hip hop culture. It saddens me. I hope this is a wake up call for a lot of us. I pray for him and his loved ones."
Marcos, a friend of Shakur's at University Medical Center
"Nobody wants to help the police. What for? What are they going to do? I''m just saying that whoever did this is going to get found. The people who find him, I don''t know what they''ll do."
Rev. Al Sharpton, who counseled Shakur in prison
"I hope in the midst of this tragedy, we can put together an aggressive and strong drive against violence among young people and dedicate it to Tupac's memory."
Spinderella (Salt N'' Pepa)
"I hope his life is an example to a lot of kids out there. He spoke of a lot of things in his music, and that's because he went through a lot, ya know? So, the things that he said, hopefully, it''ll teach these kids out there that are tryin'' to run around, doin'' this, doin'' bad things and everything, that there is life ahead. Life goes on.
Method Man (fellow Rapper)
This is an eye-opener right here. Hopefully, for all the youth, kids, I mean, even the grown-ups, everybody, I hope this is an eye-opener, man. Word up. ''Cause they should see, right now, the violence is not the key, and that it's real. Bullets is real, guns is real, you know, all that stuff is real, man. It's up to us as artists to take responsibility for what we''re saying in our records and on our albums and things of that nature, you know. But it's like, you can''t water down the hip hop, you can''t water down the ghetto. It's like, when those shots go off, the kid, the average kid in the ghetto can''t close his eyes to it. This is not a television show, this is reality, real-life drama.
It hurts me a lot that Pac has been murdered. I saw him not even 15 minutes before he was killed. First I saw him at the fight with Suge Knight and we exchanged pleasantries from across the room. Next I saw him in the casino on his way out the door. It was quite a shock to learn that he had been brutally shot. I''ve known Pac since about 1991 or 1992. I first remember meeting him when I went to the set of the movie Juice with my now deceased friend and confidant, Big Stretch from the group Live Squad. Because of the friendship that Stretch and 2Pac shared we all became good friends but they became inseparable. I find it quite ironic that Stretch was murdered in Nov. of last year and not even one year later his main man 2Pac is gone. The sad thing is that they never got to settle the differences between them. Dave, how many more of our young soldiers of the Hip-Hop world do we have to lose to senseless violence until we wake up? Hip-Hop is all about the music. It was built on the music. It shall last because of the MUSIC!!!! Violence never has and never will be a welcome part of this music that we love. I know the Bay-Area agrees with me when I say that 2Pac will be sorely missed both on the East-Coast and on the West-Coast respectively. I am saddened that we will never get to see 2Pac live out his full potential. He was an intelligent, witty, bright, funny and multi- talented actor and performer. May God bless his soul and may the music keep him alive forever.
As- Salaam- Alaikum,
The last time she saw the rapper - about two months before his September murder - it had not gone well.
"He did not want to hear anything I had to say," Pinkett remembers. "He was a very opinionated man. And I''m a very opinionated woman. So us together was always sparks and fire."
Shakur and Pinkett were close. They grew up poor, from dysfunctional homes, in Baltimore. But, she says, "We both had an inner light, an inner energy that moved us forward, you know what I''m saying?"
She still has a video of them at 16 goofing around together at Kings Dominion amusement park in Virginia.
Back then, it was Shakur who tried to set Pinkett straight. "I was hanging out with drug dealers and gangsters," says the actress.
"My mom was working all the time. I never grew up with my father. He wasn''t around."
Finally, Shakur headed for California, and Pinkett went to performing arts school in North Carolina. After a year, she moved to Los Angeles and landed her first acting job within three months.
She and Shakur kept in touch, sharing stories of the pressures of fame and the need for spirituality.
"Nobody knows the demons he carried on his shoulders," she says. "He was always fighting the world and always fighting himself. He would say, ''I can''t commit suicide, but I can''t be here like this.'' "
Pinkett have ideas about what went down with regard to Shakur's death, but if she talked about them, "somebody would probably put me six feet under," she says.
She has made peace with his passing and now hopes that he is reincarnated - as her baby.
"If he came back to me, as my child, I would love him, and I''d give him what he needed."
Thursday, October 9 1997
Jim Belushi on his friendship with Tupac Shakur
Jim Belushi was recalling his first confrontation with the late Tupac Shakur, his co-star in "Gang Related," a cop and crook comic nightmare released Wednesday by MGM that is Shakur's final film.
"He was late for the first rehearsal, didn''t show up for the second [and was] late for the third, so I turned to him and I go, ''Before we start, I want to get something straight,'' " the actor says during an interview in his trailer on the set of the ABC series "Total Security." "I go, ''I don''t think you''re committed to this project, man. . . . So Tupac jumps up and yells: ''I couldn''t find parking; my lawyer advised me not to show.'' Yadda-yadda-yadda."
Belushi explains that Shakur was telling the truth--that there was no parking, his no-show was a calculated lawyer's trick to sweeten his deal--but he adds, "I wouldn''t give it to him. And so I said, ''If you listen to everything somebody tells you, you lose your power, and I don''t want a guy with no power in this role.'' I said, ''If you come late tomorrow, you might as well not show up.'' "
Executive producer Lynn Bigelow-Kouf, with her husband, writer-director Jim Kouf, was there, and she recalls the incident his way: "We had no idea of how Tupac was going to respond. We thought it was going to come to blows, and I said, ''Well, we are three days before shooting, and there goes our second lead.'' "
Producers and others rushed to break them apart. Shakur raised his hand.
"This is between me and Jim," he said, according to Belushi, who told Shakur, "You''re not committed to this project, you''re not committed as an actor, you''re not committed to this process."
And Shakur exploded, "Committed? Whaddyamean, man? I made bail to loop the last movie."
Belushi relaxes, grinds out his cigar, his mood softening. "We had the most beautiful fight," he says wistfully. "And we shook hands at the end of that and, man, we were brothers, we were in love, we had the best time, and what happened was, that relationship--what happened at that moment--was what we made happen on screen."
In "Gang Related," Shakur displays a tenderness and vulnerability in the role of paranoid Det. Rodriguez. Belushi portrays the extremely felonious Det. Divinci, a comic monster.
Divinci is a bleaker, darker version of a character Belushi has been developing since his days at the famed Second City theater--the enchanting brute--and adheres to his brother John's theatrical admonition that Jim should "always go on stage like a bull charging into the bullring."
Belushi is philosophical about his own career and life when he considers the tragic fates of those he admires, artists who briefly shine with that undefinable light he terms "the burn."
He feels that Shakur's "thug" persona and tough-guy image were just that, an image, designed to sell records.
"Tupac and I both came from the bottom. Our street rhythms and our musical rhythms were magical. He was an artist first of all. He was a songwriter, a singer, an actor, and so I related to him on an artistic point of view. But because he was a young artist, he was pure in a sense. He felt that you didn''t need to do a scene more than once," he says. "He didn''t have the confidence that he could re-create magic. And I would argue with him, I''d say, ''OK, I''m a little older, I''m a craftsman and a spontaneous actor. I like to do as many takes as they''ll give me.'' And Tupac was, ''We got it!'' and imperfect as it was, that's how perfect it is. And I say, ''All right, [instead of] doing five takes, we''ll do three.'' So it was negotiation. He was pure, young."
The pair developed a strong bond during the filming. Belushi even turned the rapper on to Frank Sinatra, one of his idols.
During breaks, he experimented with a rap version of Sinatra's "Fly Me to the Moon," Belushi recalled. "But the melody is so beautiful the way Frank does it, Tupac was having problems. You''ve got to have melody in that, so then we''d harmonize. Oh, we had a blast. He wasn''t hip to Frank Sinatra at all. How can you not know Frank Sinatra?"
After the film wrapped, and Shakur was slain on a packed Las Vegas street, Belushi fell apart. He couldn''t accept it, saying it reminded him of too many other shattering deaths of pure and gifted young talents he's known.
"I just kind of slipped into denial for a long time," Belushi says. "About six months after he passed away, I listened to his album over and over and over. The next week I was difficult to be with. I don''t deal with death very well. My brother, John Candy, my dad, my mom, Brandon Tartikoff just a couple of weeks ago. I mean, you lose a lot of people in your life, and that's one thing I am constantly working on--pain management."
Bracketed by the tragedies of his life, in the 15 years since the death of his brother John of an overdose in 1982, Belushi has aggressively pushed himself to experiment with wider and more challenging theatrical forms than straight comedy.
His resume includes improvisational comedy (Second City, "Saturday Night Live"), light opera ("The Pirates of Penzance"), animation ("The Pebble and the Dragon"), drama ("Conversations With My Father") and sexual farce ("Sexual Perversity in Chicago") for the stage and a wide range of roles for the big and small screen.
He has even begun performing as a harmonica player and blues singer with the Sacred Hearts, the house band for the trendy Hollywood eatery, the House of Blues, in which he is an investor. Longevity and craft, as opposed to evanescence and genius, have been his standard, and, sometimes unsuccessfully, he has endeavored to push himself away from the destructive path of those "pure, young" talents he calls "the shooting stars."
"I''ve thought about that stuff a lot. I always consider guys like John, Tupac, Jimi Hendrix are shooting stars; you can''t take your eyes off them because of that burn, but it's . . . that quick," Belushi claps his hands, "Smack, they''re gone. John Candy, Tupac, my brother John. Thank God they captured their life on film. It makes me smile when I see them in a movie now.
"I like to consider myself a star--a star, that when you look in the sky, it's always there. And on a clear night . . . a shooting star comes by, and get a little thrill, and you make a little wish. You need both types of stars, the shooting and the constant stars. The heavens include them all. And I think it's good to be a star that's there every night."
Copyright 1997 / Los Angeles Times
Tim Roth on Tupac
Tim: He was actually the straight man in the film. The solid guy. My character as all over the place and he was like my dad in the film. He as constantly having to watch my back because I am always getting myself in trouble saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
Stephanie: That as on screen but were those positions in reverse in real life?
Tim: A little bit. Yeah. I first met Pac before he was cast. He wanted to play the part of Spoon and he said to them, if he hasn''t at seen any of my movies, don''t let him see my movies, and if he hasn''t at listen to my music, then don''t let him listen to my music and don''t let him see my music videos. Let me meet him as I really am, not as my public persona." And he walked in and I met this guy who was twenty five years old and he knew the character. It was a guy who wanted to do a great film. I used to quietly slide into his trailer during the day at some point when no one was around. I ad kick back and have a beer and he ad be sitting there writing, which was good. Good to see. He worked at it. His success was not a fluke. He was a poet. There as this big tough guy performance that goes on in him and I have never seen anybody so scared in all my life. We were in a back alley shooting the stabbing scene and there were rats running around. And he literally was terrified. He kept jumping up and down shouting, "Did you see that, that was a rat!!" It was like suddenly he was four years old and it made me laugh.
Stephanie: You guys bonded during the filming?
Tim: Yeah, the thing about working with any actor if you are working with such depth is you have to bond real quick and you have to keep it there. As much as I may have been pissed off with him everyday and he may have been pissed off with me, we had to reveal a lot about ourselves real quick as if our relationship had gone back years and we did that.
Preston Holmes (Co-Executive Producer)
Big smile, he always had a big smile. He loved kids and my daughter was always with me and he had known her since she was a kid. He invited me to the set of his music video which was like a rappers convention, I mean everybody was in it. My daughter and her friend spent all day getting cute in these little outfits and I was not going to let them leave the house dressed like that. They wouldn''t listen so finally I gave in. We got to the set and Tupac took one look at them and said, "What are you doing dressed like that. Ya´ll had better go home and put some clothes on." And he was serious. It was typical of who he was.
Erica Huggins (Producer)
I was blown away by Tupac´s ability to bring his natural rhythm that's so prevalent in his music to the screen. He was a poet.
Damian Jones (Producer)
Initially everybody was nervous about Tupac, given his reputation. But he loved this film and by the end, everybody loved him.
Bokeem Woodbine (Mud)
I really feel that in years to come music and cinema of today will be considered a renaissance era of sorts and I think he was on the forefront of a lot of that. People will look back and say that Tupac was a true renaissance magician.
Jasen Govine (Medical Security Guard)
I was nervous because it was my first scene in a movie and it was with Tim Roth and Tupac. After we shot it Tupac came over and said, "That was very funny" and then he smiled. I´ll always remember that moment.
Howard Hesseman (Blind man)
Gridlock''d, the title, refers to a situation where there is not enough space and too many people fighting for not enough space. This is what Tupac's death seems to be about.
Tupac Shakur's "Dear Mama" and "Keep Your Head Up" are shining examples of artistic expressions of loving oneness with one's family and people. Creative, moving, loving, funky, angry and real are that young man's works, as is a fair amount of the genre. Like any art form in America, it is also a business with the influences of the market place impacting upon its production. The more conscious its artists, the more conscious the art.
Sept. 27, 1996 -- Two weeks after the drive-by shooting death of Tupac Shakur near the glittery main strip of Las Vegas, a very public murder that no one present can seem to recall much about -- a memorial service for the trouble-prone rapper and actor was held in New York City last Sunday by the Nation Of Islam.
It was called "A Hip-Hop Day of Atonement," apparently intended as a mass meditation on the black on black violence that now claims so many young men's lives. It was originally scheduled to be held at Harlem's Mosque Number Seven, a venue presided over in the sixties by the fiery black leader Malcolm X, who was himself gunned down by fellow black Muslims after he split with Nation of Islam Leader Elijah Muhammad. The memorial service wasn''t open to everyone, but here's what we saw on the scene.
FEMALE MEMORIAL PARTICIPANT: I wish I had a chance to actually meet Tupac. His music meant a lot to our people.
MALE MEMORIAL PARTICIPANT: Tupac is just one of many who die on the streets everyday, this is an opportunity to -- another coming together for the community.
MTV: Due to a larger than anticipated turnout organizers were forced to move the event across the street to the more spacious Dempsey multi-service center where neither cameras nor white people were allowed. However, the message being delivered inside was broadcast to the hundreds waiting outside.
MALE MEMORIAL PARTICIPANT: Whether I go inside and actually hear the words that are being spoken, or if I''m out here feeling the energy from people around here and other people just standing on line that want to see more positive things happen in our community, then my mission has been accomplished.
MTV: Out on the street, event organizer Conrad Muhammad of the Nation of Islam and some hip hop reformers reiterated some of the sentiments being expressed inside.
Q-TIP, A Tribe Called Quest: Hopefully, this will be a wake up call to motivate some of the youngsters -- because that's what this is all about. To do something more in a positive light.
MINISTER CONRAD MUHAMMAD: We will commit ourselves, from this day forward, to stop the negativity, to work hard to use brother Tupac's life, not in vain, but to be a turning point for the hip hop nation.
SPINDERELLA, Salt N'' Pepa: We want the media to know, you know, being that you guys were not inside that this is something that we''re trying to do constantly and our kids that are writing those lyrics are living that life.
GRAND MASTER FLASH: It's a black owned art form but it was made for the whole world to listen to, and if we as a community do not take responsibility for what this is then it''ll be gone.