1989-01-30 / Flavor Flav & Tupac at the American Music Awards

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In 1989 Flavor Flav and Tupac Shakur hung out backstage at the American Music Awards greeting fans. Flavor, gripping a Bic pen, looks like he’s about to, or has been, signing autographs. Tupac looks like a baby. There’s no way to prove it, but we have to wonder if the two of them didn’t coordinate outfits—red, white, and black. They still feel fresh, as if they could walk into the GQ offices for a cover shoot today. Flavor’s style, known for being boisterous, comes off as subdued here. And Tupac’s white T-shirt, chain, and motorcycle jacket (is that a Schott?) are simple perfection. Still believe he’s alive somewhere out there? This photograph makes us understand why. They’re staring right through us. Pointing at us. Full of life.

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