My sister’s birthday was June 10th and my wife and I wanted to celebrate it with her. I knew that Tupac’s movie was coming out in just a few days so I got us all tickets to go. I’ll try not to spoil the movie and just say a couple of brief thoughts about it.
I Was Skeptical At First
When I first saw the trailer, I had immediate skeptical thoughts. When I saw Demetrius Shipp Jr’s face I didn’t think he should have played the role. But all that changed as soon as the movie started to play! He looked very identical to Tupac Shakur. The movie tells the story of Tupac’s life using an interview setting allowing Tupac (Demetrius Shipp Jr.) to look back and retell from his point of view.
We went to the Xscape Theater at Northgate Mall. We expected a predominately African-American crowd. Watching a movie with alot of other African-Americans is always a treat. We are the only people group on this earth that will give you commentary right there in the theater! Sometimes this can be annoying, but last night I enjoyed hearing every bodies comments. Through out the movie some of Tupac’s biggest hits were being played, and to hear the entire theater in one voice say;
“And since we are came from a woman, got a name from a woman, and our game from a…woman, I wonder why we take from our women, why we rape our women- do we hate our women?!”
This was a group and shared experience for African-Americans, and it brought back so many memories.
The Rest of The Movie
The retelling of his life story goes from his black panther roots in New York, and on to his families escape to Baltimore (where he went to school with Jada Pinkett), and even the later move to California; where he started his music career. It shows how he blows up as a bigger influence, join other labels, and the frustration of his jail and court troubles. The movie also gives a more detailed view of the relationship between Tupac and Jada-Pinkett (hinting maybe that they were closer than they both have admitted).
My Big Take Away
Seeing the movie made me think of something I had heard from an older gentlemen. However talented, intellectual, and well-meaning Tupac intended to be, he simply just did not have a world view robust enough to satisfy all that he desired. Tupac’s ability to communicate African-American ghetto realities in his time with songs like; “Brenda’s Got A Baby”, “Keep Your Head Up”, and “Changes” are still highly esteemed. What wasn’t effective was his attempt (along with his contemporaries) to take a negative statement like “Thug Life” and reinterpret it as a positive. Thug Life reinterpreted for him meant a person who was born having everything working against him, but still overcoming the odds. But this world view could not hold up to the aggressive and violent attitudes of individuals in his time, and did not deal honestly with the non-achieving value system (negative ideas and behaviors) that came along with it. This world view trapped him in a culture that unfortunately brought more negatives into his life than the positives he was desiring. The movie dealt with this issue very honestly.
I know of someone else who was born having everything working against him. Someone whose life was literally at risk from the day he was born. He grew up poor, humble, and with purpose. He died on a cross for people who didn’t love Him or His Father, and rose from the dead overcoming sin and death. Call me a cheesy Christian, but it’s no doubt that my world view as a Christian has benefited me more than “Thug Life” ever could. But overall, it was good movie and I’m glad we saw it.