A short analysis on Tupac Shakur – more to follow.

Since the biopic about Tupac Shakurs life came out this year, and he is part of my nineties nostalgia, a quick post about my views on him, his life and career.

Also a shout out to Lenon Honor on sharing his views and his important research on the negative sociological and psychological impact of gangsta rap in African-American communties. (Be sure to check out his videos on Youtube and his documentary, Beyond Gangsta Blackface, a Critcial analysis of gangsta rap)

Lenon Honor made a good point about the people who grew up listening to NWA coming of age and being able to make a critical analysis of their lyrics, and this film being directed to the younger generation who doesn’t have this hindsight.

The same, at the very least partly, goes for Tupac and the biopic “All Eyez on me” which recently came out. I grew up listening to Tupacs music.

But as a black woman, a feminist and a music lover, I now recognize and fight the sexism which is found in many of his lyrics. On the bright side: He also made positive music (Keep ya head up, Dear Mama, Unconditional Love, Changes).

He was beautiful, talented, intelligent, a great poet & lyrics writer. On the flipside, however, he also had a very sexist, negative side which was reflected in lyrics that glorified violent sexism, gang culture and such.

He also lived a sexually promiscuous lifestyle, smoked, drank lots of alcohol and smoked weed and objectified women in a terrible way.

And when he started to work with Suge Knight (who is& was basically a criminal a mafioso), he really started to go towards his own destruction. Such a shame.

On Liberty City, a “Muslim village” and our neighbourhoods and houses of prayer as a mere backdrop of violent video games and paramilitary trainings.

When researching the by-now iconic film Moonlight, I bumped into a very interesting video, which featured an interview with Tarell Alvin McCraney and Barry Jenkins, resp the playwright who wrote In Moonlight black boys look blue and the director of Moonlight. They talked about how important the character of Miami and Liberty City were to Moonlight. (You can assess the link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t_UYzQkTtA)

Eager to learn more, I googled for images of Liberty City. And what I found, scared the hell out of me. (Here is some of the stuff I found: https://www.google.nl/search?q=google+images+liberty+city&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwimq5jR9pzWAhVDb1AKHa9SANIQ_AUICigB&biw=1280&bih=694)

I found nothing but violent videogames, in which one could impersonate a police officer, who would murder as many supposed criminals as possible. I was shocked. Here is this very poor, very beautifull, very violent and very complex neighbourhood, full of African-American and Afro-LatinX people living in dire poverty and social misery……reduced to a backdrop to a videogame. Black lives and bodies, which are only relevant as shooting objects in a game. This is gruesome and dehumanizing. No wonder that young black men are killed off so easily by –mostly white-  police officers, if those officers grow up playing games in which they virtually kill them. What sort of message do these games send into the world about black bodies, black lives and their values? Black lives don’t matter. God preserve us.

But there is, alas, more where this came from. Reading a sensationalist male magazine, I encountered virtually the same. It ran a piece about a man who did a paramilitary “anti terror” – training. That “training” happened in a mock, and I quote, “Muslim village”. So again, the Islamophobic connection is made. Muslims=Terrorists and Terrorists=Muslims. Also, it had the erroneous, implicitly racist connocations that Arabs=Muslims and Muslims=Arabs, since all the buildings had Arab names. It horrified me to see a building with “coffee house/cafe” written on it, to be used as something to commit violent against/in, instead of a cheerfull meeting point for men to relax, smoke a water pipe, drink coffee and “talk tales” as Sranan Tongo has it. I have seen many of these coffee gouses when living in Egypt, and the men there were –surprise, surprise!-  real, living, breathing beings with human rights, just like every human being on Gods beautiful earth. Even more horrifiying was the description by the man who followed said training, of violently braking into a mosque to find “the hidden terrorists”. Our sacred places of prayer, relegated to a right-wing, violently Islamophobic fantasy.

As a black Muslim woman, both stories are terrifying to me. This is what dehumanization looks like. And the Trans-atlantic slavery, Trans-Saharan slavery, Indian Ocean slavery, the Holocaust, Srebrenica, the genocide against the Tutsis, the genocide in Dar Fur, and the genocides in Congo all have shown us to what dehumanization leads, in the end. Nobody can say we were not warned. Why can’t we learn from the past?

Black people of all religions are human(s). Muslims of all colors are human(s).

And any- and everyone who suggests or implies otherwhise, should be held accountable. Bottom line.