She was born Alice Faye Williams in the dusty little town of Lumberton, North Carolina – January 10, 1947.
A dimpled little Black girl, who grew into a petite young revolutionary known as Afeni Shakur, mother of a young rap icon and actor: Tupac Amaru Shakur.
Like many country people (and far too many Black people) she looked down at herself for years, as not smart enough, not pretty enough – you know: too Black.
When she joined the Black Panther Party in New York City (ca. 1966) she still had a lot of those attitudes, but the Black Revolution – at least for a time – changed some of those views.
She rarely knew the effect she had on others, for when she entered a room, one felt the urge to rise. Not because she was a woman; not because she was a Black woman; but because she was Afeni: a Black revolutionary.
She seemed to wonder, ‘who are they rising for?’
Safiya Bukhari, the late Black Panther, and Black Liberation Army soldier, wrote in her book The War Before, of Afeni (“an elfin dark-skinned woman with a very short Afro: ”Afeni Shakur exemplified the strength and dignity amid chaos that we needed to see.”
She walked with the grace that Safiya described as “regality.”
Sue was far more than Tupac’s Mom, but even he recognized her specialness as seen in his classic piece, “Dear Mama.”
She was, in Tupac’s words, “a Black Queen.”
She had her demons (as do we all); drugs, poverty, homelessness.
But despite her poverty of riches, she raised a bold, Black prince: Tupac Amaru Shakur, who, in his brief life, spit fire and rage, and gained the ear of millions.
Afeni Shakur, after 69 springs, returns to the infinite.