Sekyiwa “Set” Shakur – Tupac’s Sister Tells Her Story
When I was growing up my mother [Afeni Shakur] was going through depression. Her brain was cut off at a certain point, when I needed it. Her fighting times were when Tupac [Shakur] was being developed, between his birth and 13. All this stuff happened between Assata Shakur being broken out [of jail].
My father [Mutulu Shakur] is in jail for breaking Assata Shakur out of prison. This happened when I was 5.
“I’m bipolar. I battle with depression and suicide on a daily.”
I’ve been hospitalized twice. After I left the hospital, I went through intensive therapy for three years, going to the therapist three times a week. I moved to Sausalito, California, where there was nothing but high class white people. They didn’t even know who Tupac was. I really needed to separate myself from the black community and it was almost like I was in refuge there. I was able to build my spirit back.
When we moved back to Atlanta, where my family was, is when I was able to put all of my tools in play. So, just coming back home around black people, coming back to society and seeing the difference from how I was, before I went to the hospital, and how I am now and how I walk in my own faith and my own spirit. I’m not Afeni’s daughter, or Tupac’s sister, or Mutulu’s daughter, I’m my own being and I’m powerful.
“Your opinion of me is none of my business.”
I deal with a lot of shame. Just growing up the way that I grew up, hiding from the FBI, living in poverty, just being dark-skinned with short hair. You live with a lot of shame. You build up a wall that tells you that you’re bad. So, that phrase, ‘Your opinion of me is none of my business,’ really has gotten me through a lot of daily garbage.
Jamal Joseph, a former Black Panther Party member, close friend of the Shakur family and author of ‘Tupac Shakur: Legacy,’ discusses how his relationship with Tupac led the two to touch on everything from the East vs. West war to Pac’s original screen plays.
“My mother said that Tupac was her soul mate.”
I’ve always been the shadow in the corner. I’m actually the heart in my family. My mother is the backbone. ‘Pac is the catalyst. I’m the heart. I’m what keeps us together.
My mom never taught me how to cook. She taught my brother how to cook, and I happened to be in the room when she did it. She never taught me about being a woman. She taught Jada [Pinkett]. She was telling Jada, when they were in high school, I just happen to be in the room listening to that.
Pretend. You’ve seen “The Cosby Show.”
When my mom was using drugs I was in sixth grade. I went to school everyday. My mother wasn’t home. My brother wasn’t home for like months at a time. I still went to school everyday. So you can create the type of life that you want.
You know a lot of men be like, ‘I don’t know what it is, and I can’t take care of my son. I never had a father.” Make pretend, you’ve seen “The Cosby Show.”
I don’t need to beat myself up for what happened between my childhood to 18. Whatever happened to me, somebody should have been taking care of me, instead of me taking care of myself. I deserve to allow myself to believe in that, so I don’t have to beat myself for it. From 18 up, it’s my responsibility and I have the right and choice to decide to be what I want my life to be.
“Tupac really worked to take care of his family.”
‘Pac died at 25, and before him my mom was on welfare and I was on welfare and my uncle, the only man in the family, worked four shifts, and our grandparents were sharecroppers. We just come from poverty. With that, I struggle with my clothing line [Madamveli]. I want to be able to take over that for him.
I want [Tupac] to be able to retire. He’s been dead for 10 years and he’s still working.
I want to thank God that I’m here and that I don’t have the want or the need to want to kill myself. Everyday I used to wake up wanting to die and thinking that that’s an option. Today I know that that’s not an option for me.
As Told to Tanisha Blakely, AOL Black Voices,