Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary by Jasmine Guy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Agency is such a powerful thing. Anyone familiar with Tupac's "Dear Mama" knows the story of Afeni Shakur - or so it may seem. I can attest that it doesn't even come close to illuminating the complexities of the life of Afeni Shakur. Speaking with such profound clarity, Afeni holds no illusions about her mistakes and her imperfections. But she is so much more than her missteps, and Jasmine Guy craftily ensures that we see Afeni as a whole woman.
Afeni's story is the story of Black women in America. Her story, and that of her son and daughter shed light on the way pain is passed between generations. Indeed, it is a story of struggle, but also one of reconciliation, rebirth, and the wisdom that only comes from living through the deepest depths of despair. It is a story about womanhood, about Blackness, about injustice, about honesty, personal responsibility, and truth. There is so much to be learned from Afeni's story, way beyond being mother to one of hip-hop's most legendary names. This is a story that needed to be told and that absolutely should be read.
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Niv Mullings is a writer, poet, and plant-based health coach hailing from The Boogie Down Bronx.