L.T. Hutton & Benny Boom preserve history, and teach hard lessons…
Accurately describing the life and times of someone as iconic, complex, and artistic as Tupac Shakur in a 2 hour film is a nearly impossible task. However, LT Hutton, and Benny Boom, the executive producer and director of the film managed to just barely wrap their hands around such as highly anticipated picture.
Before watching the film I watched several interviews where Hutton, and Boom described the artistic vision of the movie, and how they were trying to display the man Tupac was, who he wanted to be, and who he had to be. Based on my understanding of the movies direction I came away feeling that the movie had used Tupac’s life as a catalyst to illustrate a narrative. It wasn’t just the life of Shakur, it was a reminder of where our HipHop culture had come from, struggled through, and the pain we experienced after Shakur’s passing. The movie wasn’t just meant to teach us about a rapper, it was meant to teach us from the experiences that made the man.
Tupac & Afeni Shakur depicted in a courtroom moments after his wrongful sexual assault conviction in 1995.Photo Credit: HipHopDx.com
One of the toughest things for me to reconcile was there was a palpable lack of resolve. Characters seemed to walk into Pac’s life for a period of time, and then they weren’t seen or spoken to again. It bothered me until I realized that unfortunately that was probably how Tupac would have remembered some of these events. When his life was cut short, the people around him were forced to leave unresolved issues behind them. One of the hardest things to watch was the end of the movie where Tupac allowed HipHop politics to come in between his relationship with fellow west coast superstar Snoop Dogg. An incredibly tragic life lesson all of us can learn from. Love while you are here, because death waits for no one.
After the movie was over I had an appreciation for Tupac’s mother Afeni Shakur, an active Black Panther who despite being on trial for her life while pregnant with Tupac, managed to defeat conspiracy charges, notoriously un-winnable cases, especially with no lawyer. Tupac’s own literacy of the law is a remarkable lesson all citizens, especially marginalized ones should learn from. If you do not know and understand your rights, they will be taken from you.
Photo Credit: IMDb.com
Lastly I began to think about how HipHop managed to flourish despite large media and political criticism. Not only did high ranking White House officials like Vice President Dan Quayle vehemently oppose rap’s freedom of speech, even Black civil rights activists such as Cynthia Delores Tucker called for its permanent removal which were both depicted in the film. Many true hiphop heads would argue that the genre saved our lives, and if we are to stand by that statement, then we also need to respect the forefathers of rap, and watch over the direction we allow HipHop to take. Pac was depicted as wanting to rap for the unheard population of the inner city, but when capitalism began to play a part in the purity of the music, the voice became muffled behind millions of dollars, contracts, and street politics.
A multitude of other lessons can be learned from such an impactful story. This is more than entertainment, this is a preservation of history. Despite several negative reviews from celebrities, I would encourage any fan of HipHop to watch the movie with the keen eye of hindsight, something that Tupac never got the chance to have. Tupac fought many battles so that we didn’t have to, and although the movie cannot encapsulate his entire life, vision, and unique perspective, “All Eyez On Me” is at the very least a precursor to learning more about his life and contributions, and is worth seeing once, if not twice.