Afeni Shakur, who overcame being “poor single mother on welfare” as described in her son’s 1995 single “Dear Mama,” was a constant inspiration in Tupac’s music, as the late rapper dedicated many of his songs to the woman who tempered his artistic ability and revolutionary spirit. “Ain’t a woman alive that could take my mother’s place,” he said on “Dear Mama,” a tribute to Afeni that was later added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
A year after “Dear Mama” was released, Tupac Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas on September 7th, 1996; a week later, he died of his wounds at a hospital with Afeni at his side.
“Sad news about Pacs mom #AfeniShakur RIP Dear Mama learned a lot about being a women from watching you,” Pepa from Salt & Pepa tweeted.
One year after Tupac’s death, Afeni Shakur created the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which provides art programs to students. Shakur also oversaw her son’s estate, including his voluminous posthumous releases. In 1999, she and Voletta Wallace, the mother of the Notorious B.I.G., appeared together at the MTV Music Awards to call for unity in the hip-hop community.