Tupac Amaru Shakur was 25 years old when he died on September 13, 1996, after being shot September 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Known for his "gangsta" rap music, he has sold more than 10 million recordings, the most recent of which is the posthumous release Makaveli, The Don Killuminati, The 7 Day Theory (Death Row, 1996). He also appeared in four films—two that came out while he was alive (Juice and Poetic Justice) and two that have just been released (Gridlock’d and Bullet).
Rev. Herbert Daughtry is pastor of The House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn, where Tupac Shakur was a member. He preached this sermon there on September 15, 1996. Tupac Shakur’s life and death raise challenging questions about the church’s role in the experiences of such controversial figures. —The Editors
It is now 3:15 a.m., and I am driven to put to paper some thoughts about Tupac Shakur, gone from this life forever, at least in the flesh. What shall I say of this young man who lived such a flamboyant, violent, tumultuous life, and who died at 25 years old?
His mother, Afeni, brought him along with his sister Asantewaa to this holy place, and the three of them stood at the altar and united with this congregation. He was a lad of about 10 years. When I asked him what he wanted to be, he replied, "A revolutionary." Needless to say I was surprised. I ought not to have been. His mother was a member of the Black Panther Party, a group of young black men and women who, some years ago, created enormous fear among some whites and a certain kind of black.