By Duchess Magazine
|An authorised biopic of Activist and mother of music icon Tupac Shakur, Afeni Shakur tentatively titled Peace, Love & Respect; the Afeni Shakur/Panther 21 story is currently in development.|
A Different World star, actress Jasmine Guy alongside Jamal Josephs, a former Panther Party member will executive produce the project. Dina LaPolt who worked with the Shakur estate for years will serve as a producer on the documentary.
Strong, fearless and a go-getter, born Alice Faye Williams in North Carolina, after joining the Black Panthers Party in 1968, the activist changed her name to Afeni Shakur, becoming a notable member alongside Tupac’s father Billy Garland. Afeni was a constant inspiration to her music son’s timeless music and was the force behind his 1995 single hit “Dear Mama.”
Recall in 1969, a pregnant Shakur, and other members of the Panther 21 group were jailed while facing trial on bombing charges in New York but were eventually acquitted after an eight-month trial and released from prison in May 1971. The following month, she gave birth to Tupac in Harlem, New York on June 16th, 1971. Named Lesane Parish Crooks, the son would later be renamed Tupac Amaru Shakur.
September 7th, 1996 would forever remain a dark day in the hip hop community, Tupac Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas, a week later, he succumbed to his wounds at a hospital. Afeni was right by his side. After his death, Jasmine Guy and Jada Pinkett-Smith stuck right by her.
Afeni was the executor of Tupac’s estate until her death in 2016 from cardiac arrest. She was 69 years old.
The documentary film – Peace, Love & Respect, the Afeni Shakur/Panther 21 story, is the first film script to receive full backing and approval of the Shakur estate, Variety reports.
“Afeni Shakur lived a life of challenge, power, rebelliousness, genius and beauty. This is an origin story of a fierce, sexy, trailblazing, woman in blackness superhero.” Joseph said.
The doc follows a pivotal two-year period in Afeni’s life, zooming in on April 2, 1969, to June 16, 1971, the day of Tupac’s birth, giving insight to where she alongside 20 other Black Panthers were arrested and charged with conspiracy to bomb police stations in New York.
“When the trial started, Afeni had gotten pregnant when she was out on bail,” LaPolt said. “Two of the Panthers absconded, the judge freaked out and Afeni got put back in jail.”
“She was five months pregnant [with Tupac] and made a motion to get a glass of milk for her unborn child! She had a lot of self-confidence, and that’s our movie — it begins with the day she was arrested.”
The film captures the trial where Afeni ended up representing herself and was acquitted.
“THAT’S A TESTAMENT TO WHAT A POWERFUL WOMAN SHE WAS,” LAPOLT SAID.
The film is personal to LaPolt, who was raised by an activist mother who saw Afeni as a heroic figure.
“My mother was very much a part of the civil rights movement—she taught me about Afeni and how she was arrested as a member of the ‘Panther 21,” LaPolt said.
In 2005, Guy, penned Shakur’s biography. She told Variety that she couldn’t wait to work on the official biopic.
“I was honored when Afeni asked me to author her biography. Now, I have the opportunity to honor her life and her legacy on the screen, and I am very excited to share her remarkable story this way,” she said.