Afeni Shakur Davis, the mother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, died this past Monday. Shakur, a former Black Panther and activist, was a fierce guardian of her son’s creative legacy.
Shakur Davis was born Alice Williams on January 10, 1947 in Lumberton, N.C. She joined the Black Panther Party and was pregnant with 2Pac when she was jailed in 1971 over conspiracy charges that she and the Panthers intended to bomb police office buildings.
In the trial, Shakur Davis defended herself and was acquitted several times during her legal issues and she gave birth to her son that year. According to her biographer, the actress Jasmine Guy, Shakur struggled with drug addiction but remained a devoted activist throughout.
Her resiliency was the inspiration for her son’s 1995 smash hit, “Dear Mama,” one of hip-hop’s lasting classic tracks and a Mother’s Day playlist favorite. The following year, 2Pac was gunned down. After his death, Shakur Davis took control of her son’s estate and fought tirelessly to keep his name and image alive.
Shakur Davis was 69.