Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur Davis, dead at 69

by Mary Valterria

Another member of the Shakur family is gone too soon. Afeni Shakur Davis, mother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur, died May 2 at her home in Sausalito Calif. after deputies responded to a report of a possible cardiac arrest at the Bay area residence. Davis was 69 years old.

Reports of Davis’ death flooded social media Tuesday morning as the Marin County Sheriff Twitter page confirmed the unfortunate news.

Riverside City College student and Tupac fan Clay Partida reacted in disbelief.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Partida. “I was shocked.”

Partida wasn’t the only student who was caught off guard by Davis’ passing. RCC student Pauline Alvarez expressed sorrow.

“(Davis) brought a legend into this world,” said Alvarez. “It’s hard to believe that they are both gone.”

Davis was born Alice Faye Williams but changed her name to Afeni Shakur after joining the Black Panther Party in the ‘60s. A decade later, Davis represented herself against charges of conspiracy in what became known as the Panther 21 Trial. Davis, who was pregnant at the time, and the other accused Panthers were acquitted of all charges in May of 1971. Davis gave birth a month later to a son, who was known to the world as Tupac Amaru Shakur.

Shakur was shot on the Las Vegas strip in Sept. of 1996 after attending a much anticipated boxing match at the MGM grand. Six days later, Shakur succumbed to his wounds and was pronounced dead Sept. 13, 1996.  The rap world hasn’t been the same since.

After Shakur’s passing, Davis went on to become the caretaker of Shakur’s legacy and eventually married Dr. Gust D. Davis Jr. in 2004. Davis went on to establish a charitable organization called the Tupac Amaru Foundation for the Arts which helps young people succeed in art and music.

Alvarez talked about Shakur’s contribution to musical culture.  

“He had a huge impact on everyone who listened to his music,” she said. “It’s a shame to see those who left a real mark on the world be taken before their time.”

Shakur may have impacted the rap world, but Davis is who impacted Shakur. One of Shakur’s biggest hits was titled Dear Mama, which was an ode to Davis. In the song, Shakur talks about the struggles he endured growing up as a troubled youth and how Davis gave her all to care for him and his younger sister, despite her struggles with drug use.

Partida articulated that Davis did a great job in supporting Shakur’s legacy and pointed out that with Mother’s Day around the corner, Davis’ passing is a reminder to everyone that life is short.

“Our moms aren’t going to be around forever,” said Partida. “We should appreciate our mothers.”

Davis may have been best known for being Tupac Shakur’s mom, but she definitely left behind her own powerful impression. Tupac Shakur’s famous lyrics about Davis show just how special she was, and will continue to be.