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All Eyez on Me!

Tupac Amaru Shakur was one of the greatest men to ever live.

Don't @ me either.

His spirit, his knowledge, and his impact on black culture, especially the hip hop culture, was revolutionary in more ways than one. His flow, his intelligence, his drive, and power to change the world was extremely inspiring. And I know his presence would've made a huge difference on this earth.

Born Leshane Parish Crooks in the heart of New York City - Harlem itself. He grew up in a household heavily influenced by his mother's involvement in the Black Panther Party. A year after his birth Afeni Shakur, his mother, renamed him Tupac Amaru - after the Peruvian revolutionary who led a massive uprising against the Spanish in Peru in the early 1700s - giving him the perfect name for a young boy, who would grow into a revolutionary man, with the power to change the world with his words, mind, and pencil and paper. On September 13, 1996 he was murdered, but his memory, lyrics/poetry, and his legacy will live forever.

Now, I'm not here to give you the entire biography, tell you about his accomplishments, faults, downfalls, awards and mistakes, or talk about some conspiracy that he's still alive. I think some other people have done a pretty good job of doing that already. (I can link y'all to some stuff I've seen or heard about if you want. Just ask for it in the comments below.) But what I reaaaaaaaly to talk about, is that movie!

As a big fan of Tupac, as a man and hip-pop mogul, I expected so much more. And I really don't think the movie did his life justice. Now I'm a little late to the party 'cause I saw it a few weeks ago, but I'm still going to say what I think.

Personally, I thought that the acting was pretty good. Demetrius Shipp Jr. starred in his first acting debut as Tupac Amaru Shakur which is pretty dope. And I think he did pretty well. Of course I'm not a critic on acting, but I enjoyed his performance. I also loved Danai Gurira who played Afeni Shakur, Tupac's mother, I think she brought emotion, realness, dimension, and drama to her character, and gave justice to his mother's legacy. I liked how we were able to get a small look into who Tupac was as a man, a glimpse into his naivety, how trustworthy he was, his intelligence, his recklessness, his humor, and even his love for Shakespeare. But there was still so much missing. I think the film did a good job at portraying his go-getta drive, his work ethic, his blunt mouth, his "don't give a fuck," attitude, and showed a little bit of his growth in appearance.

But one of my biggest problems with this bio-pic was the fact that it lacked the real Tupac Amaru Shakur. We didn't get to see his kind heart, his caring nature, the side of him that some people thought was an asshole, his creative side (outside of just rapping and acting), his paranoia, and more importantly his growth on a personal and spiritual level. The script was heavily dramatized for the satisfaction of Hollywood, in an attempt to attract viewers, for money, and for all other wrong reasons put together.

Tupac's life was interesting enough - it didn't need a Hollywood twist to bring in the masses. He always spoke his truth and I expected the film to speak his truth as well. ​Tupac saw himself as the voice of the people, and he was. If they gave us the real, the movie could've had an incredible impact.

Of course there were a lot of sloppy mistakes that I think were made. But you have to really be paying attention to the film in order to notice them. There were places in the film where the music inserted was sloppy. In certain scenes of the movie, songs playing in the clubs that in reality (when following the timeline of Pac's actual career) hadn't been released yet because they were under lock & key, waiting for release. And the extras weren't styled well - often looking like they hopped right out of 2017. In making a bio-pic, you want things to look as real as possible according to the time that you are trying to portray. On top of all that, his relationship with Jada was exaggerated to attract viewers with this "love" story type image - when their relationship was so much more than Hollywood could ever understand. Jada Pinkett-Smith was heated at the fact that they portrayed Pac reading a poem to her called Jada, written for her, that she never got to read until his work was published after his death. They had a very personal relationship and whoever decided to produce that movie tweaked on portraying their relationship in a disrespectful light.

Another huge problem for me was that the film was heavily influenced by the mediated image that the world got of Tupac. We've already seen Tupac with the girls, we've already seen Tupac with his guns, we've already seen Tupac in the movies.

But what we are missing is the man, the real man, behind the mediated image that he created for himself, and the image that the world narrated for him. The real Tupac. I was looking for that, and I didn't get it. So of course I was disappointed. The movie was heavily centered around an exclusive interview that he did while he was in prison. But they lacked enough information to give a large amount of details on other important events within Pac's life.

When watching a bio-pic I look forward to finding out things I never knew before. The script was dramatized for viewers, for Hollywood, for money, for all of the wrong reasons altogether. Regardless if we didn't have Pac here to tell his own story, we have access to people who were in his life to speak on his behalf, to help reconstruct his story to share with the entire world. And what was the rush to produce it anyways? We could have waited until we had all the information we needed to produce a film that was true to his character, the man he was growing into, and the legacy he wanted to leave behind.

It was worse than Whitney Houston's and Aaliyah's movie. I'm kidding. But I didn't like it that much, but I'm still pretty biased as a fan. I just felt like a bio-pic is suppose to honor and commemorate not quench Hollywood's thirst for a profit off of someone's life and legacy. And I didn't feel like this movie did his life enough justice. We didn't need a movie just because, we needed the movie to bring justice to the man who meant so much to people across the globe - not just as fans of his music, but fans of his character, his genius, his honesty, and his love for people. More importantly we needed a movie for the culture - a movie that would serve a purpose in the black community and do its part for the hip-pop culture.

Leaving the show, I felt like there was still things missing about who Tupac was as boy, and the man who he was starting to grow into. But I can't even be mad at the filmmakers, because how do you make a movie about a man who was a mystery? When all eyes are on you, and you have people projecting their thoughts, emotions, etc. onto you it is easy for you to get lost. Sometimes it can feel like what you want, what matters to you, your thoughts, and opinions, don't matter. But Tupac showed the world that no matter how many eyes were on him, he was always going to live his truth - at whatever cost. I just wish he got the chance to live up to his fullest potential.

If only he got to Live 2 Tell.

P.S. If you saw the movie, tell me what you think in the comments. If you didn't see it, tell me why. I'd love to hear some feedback on your thoughts with this post. Slide into the comments below!

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