Tag Archives: Knowledge

Reflection for today…Critical Reading -Henry David Thoreau & Tupac Shakur

13 Sep

* Editor’s Note: Today {September 13th, 1996} marks the 23rd anniversary of Tupac’s tragic death at the age of 25.

Rest in Peace Tupac.

We will continue to celebrate your life and your legacy.

{Things are not the same without you…}

https://2paclegacy.net/today-marks-23-years-since-tupac-was-killed/ 

In this reflection, I wanted to explore the intellectual and poetic side of Tupac that is rarely discussed {the same happens with Jim Morrison the lead singer of The Doors}.

I hope to explore other artist’s reading lists in future reflections.

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“Readers are plentiful;  

thinkers are rare.”  
Henry David Thoreau

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Tupac Shakur was always hungry for knowledge.  

He was a voracious reader and student of life. His passion for learning and social justice advocacy was a part of his essence. 

Tupac’s intellectual power came from a vast knowledge of eclectic topics. He loved to explore esoteric, the metaphysical and philosophical topics. This study became the foundation for his song lyrics and life philosophy.

His mother, Afeni Shakur, had already instilled in him a revolutionary education as she was a member of The Black Panthers. She passed on her wisdom and Tupac continued to polish the jewels.

Tupac was truly an autodidact {a self-taught person}. He would educate others through his song lyrics.

Tupac Shakur Smiling

“Before his tragic death at age of 25, Tupac rapped about poverty, violence in the black community, police brutality, black empowerment, political strategy and spirituality.” https://www.blackfaves.com/story/11-books-tupac-shakurs-bookshelf-still-relevant-today/

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In this short video, Tupac’s first manager Leila Steinberg discusses Tupac’s love of literature and critical thinking.

Tupac Shakur and Leila Steinberg

Leila Steinberg is an artist and community organizer who began working with youth twenty years ago in the San Francisco Bay area. As the daughter of a criminal defence attorney, she grew up surrounded by the workings of the justice system and took a front row seat at the personal tragedies and socio-economic pressures that turn so many at-risk youths into hardened felons. Steinberg helps them connect with their hearts and turn anger and pain into creativity.
AIM promotes artistic expression as a way to handle problems as opposed to choosing violence, drugs or other forms of escape. As the program facilitator, Steinberg sees confronting pain as the best way to move past it. She believes self-awareness is a key to making better choices.

Steinberg is committed to helping people who fall through the cracks of society. In 1995 she began a series of specialized programs for youth within the juvenile justice system and those residing in residential treatment facilities. As hip-hop music became the expression of today’s youth, Steinberg began training artists to develop voices powerful enough to reach a generation. While conducting poetry workshops in Northern California, she met Tupac Shakur and he became a regular participant in her class. They shared a vision of developing a space where each artist in attendance is encouraged, inspired and motivated to address social change in their work. Tupac referred to Leila as the “bow” and himself as the “arrow.” –http://www.pinlight.com/leila.htm

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This clip is from the movie Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel.

It is said to be a “documentary examining the politics, music and life of Tupac Shakur.”

This is the description from the Youtube video…

This is a list of books read by Tupac during his lifetime including while he was at the Baltimore School of Arts and in prison. They are presented in no particular order. The topics include Black history, the afterlife, religion including Zen, war, women’s liberation, music, and poetry. Reading these books, it is clear how they moulded Tupac’s thinking and language. This is a handy list of good reading material if you ever find yourself locked up.”

 One Hundred Years of Solitude
Written by: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

1984
Written by: George Orwell

Ah, This!
Written by: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

All God’s Children:
The Boskett Family and the American Tradition of Violence
Written by: Fox Butterfield

All You Need to Know About the Music Business
Written by: Donald Passman

And Still I Rise
Written by: Maya Angelou

Art of War
Written by: Sun Tzu

Assata: An Autobiography
Written by: Assata Shakur

At the Bottom of the River
Written by: Jamaica Kincaid

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
As told to: Alex Haley

Bhagavad-Gita As It Is
Written by: A.C. Bhaktive-danta Swami Prabhupada

Black Like Me
Written by: John Howard Griffin

Black Sister:
Poetry by Black American Women, 1746 to 1980
Edited by Earlene Stetson

Blues People
Written by: Amiri Baraka

Catcher in the Rye
Written by: J.D. Salinger

The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences
Written by: Walter B. Gibson and Litzka R. Gibson

The Confessions of Nat Turner
Written by: William Styron

The Destiny of the Nations
Written by: Alice A. Bailey

The Diary of Anais Nin
Edited and with a Preface by: Gunther Stuhlmann

The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
Written by: E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil

The Grapes of Wrath
Written by: John Steinbeck

Great White Lie:
Slavery, Emancipation and Changing Racial Attitudes
Written by: Jack Gratus

The Harder We Run:
Black Workers Since the Civil War

Written by: William H. Harris

Here and Hereafter
Written by: Ruth Montgomery

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Written by: Maya Angelou

I Shall Not Be Moved
Written by: Maya Angelou

Imitation of Christ
Written by: Thomas a Kempis

In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens
Written by: Alice Walker

Initiation
Written by: Elisabeth Haich

Interesting People:
Black American History Makers

Written by: George L. Lee

James Baldwin: The Legacy
Edited by: Quincy Troupe

Kabbalah
Written by: Gersham Scholem

Life and Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by: Ira Peck

Life as Carola
Written by: Joan Grant

Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs
Written by: Linda Goodman

Makes Me Wanna Holler
Written by: Nathan McCall

The Meaning of Masonry
Written by: W.L. Wilmshurst

Moby Dick
Written by: Herman Melville

Monster:
The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member

Written by: Sanyika Shakur

Music of Black Americans: A History
Written by: Eileen Southern

Mysticism
Written by: Evelyn Underhill

Native Son
Written by: Richard Wright

Nature, Man and Woman
Written by: Alan W. Watts

No Man Is an Island
Written by: Thomas Merton

Nostradamus: The Millennium & Beyond
Written by: Peter Lorie

The Phenomenon of Man
Written by: Teilhard de Chardin

Ponder on This: A Compilation
From the Writings of: Alice A Bailey & the Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul

The Practical Encyclopedia of Natural Healing
Written by: Mark Bricklin

The Prince
Written by: Niccolo Machiavelli

The Psychedelic Experience:
A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Written by: Timothy Leary, Ph.D., Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., Richard Alpert, Ph.D.

The Psychic Realm
Written by: Naomi A. Hintze and J. Gaither Pratt, Ph.D.

A Raisin in the Sun
Written by: Lorraine Hansberry

Roots
Written by: Alex Haley

Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools
Written by: Jonathan Kozol

Secret Splendor
Written by: Charles Essert

Serving Humanity
From the writings of: Alice A. Bailey

Sisterhood is Powerful:
Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement
Written by: Robin Morgan

The State of the World Atlas
Written by: Michael Kidron and Ronald Segal

Social Essays
Written by: LeRoi Jones

The Souls of Black Folk
Written by: W.E. Burghardt DuBois

Teachings of the Buddha
Written by: Jack Kornfield

Telepathy
Written by: Alice A Bailey

The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Written by: W.Y. Evans-Wentz

Thoughts and Meditations
Written by: Kahlil Gibran

Tropic of Cancer
Written by: Henry Miller

The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg
Written by: Paul Portuges

Wisdom of Insecurity
Written by: A.N. Watts

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Written by: Robert M. Pirsig

Copied from: https://www.thuglifearmy.com/index.php/tupac-reading-library.html

{Goodreads also has an alternate list of books that Tupac read}.

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For more information…

Henry David Thoreau…http://thoreau.library.ucsb.edu/thoreau_life.html

Tupac Shakur…http://2pac.com/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000637/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/23942.Books_Read_by_Tupac_Shakur_

Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel Movie…http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314806/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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Peace & Poetic Love

-V.

Reflection for today…Potential -Doris Lessing

26 Mar

“Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.” 
Doris Lessing

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Society is not a level playing field.

Equal opportunities are mostly urban legends.

Spoken word poets and hip hop artists often speak about social inequalities and injustice through social commentary.

Some hip hop artists educate, enlighten/uplift consciousness and inspire.

Stic Man & M-1 are Dead Prez: My favourite hip hop artists/activists/revolutionaries

Tupac Shakur was a brilliant poet/artist/activist/revolutionary

This poetic narrative storytelling made me fall in love with hip hop because it gave a voice to the voiceless.

It was the poetry of the streets.

tupac-shakur-quotes-sayings-about-yourself-community-wise

Many will not like the social commentary.

It is so incisive and critical but it has to be because the living conditions are full of suffering and injustice.

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It should be noted that conscious hip hop and punk music have many parallels.

They both fight against the status quo.

They both subvert the dominant paradigm.

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Black ice is such a gifted poet and spoken word artist.

He shoots from the hip and his poems go straight to your heart and mind.

In his poem Imagine, he meditates on social inequality and how different life would be if equal opportunities actually existed.

He proposes to “put love where the hate is.”

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Please enjoy his poem Imagine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kVT89O6cLo

What happens in neighbourhoods where the self-esteem has been overshadowed by the decay and the children no longer play the way they used to?

Where young boys choose to follow figures that had no father figures…

Whatever happened to that we shall overcome shit?…

Cold winters are sheltered by crack houses instead of recreational centers that they claim to not have the paper to keep open for operation…

What’s a young boy to do when he doesn’t want to do wrong but there’s a lock on the right door?

When he has the heart of a soldier, the aggression of a prizefighter but no one’s taught him what to fight for…

Young Tupac was one of many boys without fathers {as Black Ice says}.
However, the absence of his father was eclipsed by his mother’s fierce love.
Afeni {a former Black Panther} passed on infinite wisdom to her son so it isn’t true that “no one taught him what to fight for.”
“My mother taught me three things: respect, knowledge, search for knowledge.
It’s an eternal journey.” -Tupac.

I included this caption of Tupac because he had “the heart of a soldier and aggression of a prize fighter”- not to mention the mind of a revolutionary leader..
 
In the end, Tupac defined manhood for himself and became quite the revolutionary man.

I would have loved to see Tupac become a father…

See, most of our families are fatherless and quite poor so we miss out on meals as well as kisses and hugs.

Photo Courtesy of: http://zunlee.com/

You’ve got the audacity to cut the funding for the facilities that keep us off the streets then ask us why we sell drugs.

Imagine if we put down our dices and guns, picked up our daughters and sons and put a little love right there where the hate is…

Imagine if these little inner-city kids had the same type of schools that these rich kids have way out there in the sticks…”

Black Ice

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Imagine we lived in a world where there was no suffering, injustice/oppression, “third world” class distinction or any class distinction whatsoever.

This is the world that I want to live in…

Art by BANKSY

Peace & Namaste.

{More posts about poverty/social inequality/injustice, sociology, spoken word poetry, Tupac, Dead Prez, Black Ice and hip hop coming up in the future…}

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For more information…

Dorris Lessing…http://www.dorislessing.org/

Black Ice…https://twitter.com/BLACKICETHEPOET

Tupac…http://www.2pac.com/

The Tupac Shakur foundation…http://www.tasf.org/

Dead Prez…http://deadprezblog.wordpress.com/blog/

Tupac’s Legend

Tupac Amaru Shakur was an inspiration to millions.

While  2Pac was most famous for his rap career,  he was also a gifted actor, poet and thoughtful while outspoken advocate for the poor and the overlooked in America. During his life, he produced an immense amount of artistic work, which included studio albums, major Hollywood feature films, and published works.  He was most prolific in the music industry, selling over 75 million albums. 2Pac’s unapologetic lyrics were relevant, important, and reflective of the hard lives led by many. His music earned attention and respect through a poetic style that embraced street vocabulary while being innovative. Today, 2Pac is still considered by many to be one of the biggest influences on modern hip-hop.

2Pac’s career has earned him six Grammy nominations and three MTV Video Music Award nominations. In 1997, Shakur was honored by the American Music Awards as the Favorite Hip Hop Artist.

Born on June 16 1971 in New York City, Shakur’s parents were both members of the Black Panther Party whose militant style and provocative ideologies for civil rights would come to influence 2Pac’s music. At an early age, Tuapc’s love for performance and the arts began to show, as he began acting at age 13 and later enrolled in the Baltimore School of the Arts before dropping out at 17. Shakur broke into the music business with rap group Digital Underground as a back-up dancer and roadie. Eventually Shakur released his first solo album in ’91, 2pacalypse Now. 2Pac’s music career began to grow as his second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z included two top 20 pop chart tracks: I Get Around and Keep Ya Head Up.

Shakur’s legal battles began after he established his rap career. In the early nineties Shakur faced a wrongful death suit which settled out of court, accusations of assaulting police officers where charges were ultimately dropped, and even an incident where Shakur sustained five gunshot wounds from shooter Dexter Isaac. In 1995 2Pac was sentenced one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison for sexual abuse. However, not even prison could slow the success of Shakur’s career.

While incarcerated 2Pac’s latest album at the time, Me Against the World, was number one in the pop charts and would later go double platinum. Shakur became the first artist to reach number one in the pop charts while serving a prison sentence. Making the most of his time in jail, 2Pac became a passionate reader. Among his favorites were the works of Niccolò Machiavelli, an Italian Renaissance writer whose works were in part the foundation for western political science. Shakur’s appreciation of his work inspired the nickname: Makaveli.

After serving only eight months of his sentence, 2Pac was out on parole thanks to a 1.4 million dollar bond paid by Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records. Now signed with Death Row Records, Shakur went on to create All Eyez on Me, which featured hits How Do You Want It and California Love.

2Pac’s life was cut short in September of 1996 when Shakur became the victim of a drive-by shooting while his car waited on a red light. While Shakur survived the surgery that followed he was pronounced dead almost a week after the attack.

Even today, 2Pac’s influence is wide-spread. From the Library of Congress where his song Dear Mama was added in 2010 to the National Registry, to artists like 11 time Grammy winner Eminem who in an interview with MTV said:

“He made you feel like you knew him. I think that , honestly, Tupac was the greatest songwriter that ever lived. He made it seem so easy. The emotion was there, and feeling, and everything he was trying to describe. You saw a picture that he was trying to paint.”

2Pac leaves a legacy of honesty and passion in his songs. Respected by many,  2Pac has become an inspiration for artists and a standard in rap music.”

-Copied & Pasted from: http://www.2pac.com/legend/

The Tupac Shakur Foundation

“MISSION

Our mission is to provide training and support for students who aspire to enhance their creative talents. Each and every child desires freedom to creatively express themselves. We provide an environment that encourages freedom of expression, serves as a resource for families, and empowers via education.

ABOUT

The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation (TASF) is home to the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts, just outside of Atlanta in Stone Mountain, Georgia. TASF was founded in 1997 originally as the Shakur Family Foundation by Afeni Shakur, mother of multi-talented Tupac Amaru Shakur. Since its inception TASF has offered performing arts camps, essay competitions, youth book clubs, visual arts workshops, community development projects, and scholarships to students pursuing undergraduate degrees.

On June 11, 2005 the TASF opened the Center! The Center is dedicated to providing youth and the community with educational programs in the arts. It is a fact that early arts education improves school grades, as well as offers invaluable life lessons while building self-esteem and confidence. For nearly 15 years, the Foundation’s programs have served youth of all social and economic backgrounds, giving countless young people the courage to get off the streets and learn vital skills that have the potential to positively impact their communities. The Center is open to the public and hosts several noteworthy events throughout the year.

MORE ABOUT TUPAC

Tupac Amaru Shakur dealt with great obstacles such as homelessness, hunger, and pain, amongst other situations during his youth. Performing arts provided the hope that would seed the expression that would one day influence generations worldwide.

Tupac accomplished a lot before his murder at the age of 25. At an early age, he wrote and organized family productions, casting himself as the lead and his older cousins in supporting roles. Tupac formally trained at the 127th Street Ensemble and Baltimore School for the Arts. At the age of twelve, he experienced his first formal stage role as the character “Travis” in the stage play ‘Raisin In the Sun’ at the prestigious Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Tupac was eventually cast in several feature films and recorded several chart topping albums. In fact, he released the first ever double hip-hop CD.   Today, years after his physical departure, he is the second highest selling Hip-Hop artist of all time. His gift- his words and creative talent- continues to inspire others around the world!

-Copied & Pasted from: http://www.tasf.org/the-foundation/about-tasf/

Tupac Sends You Peace…