Afeni Speaks to Students     

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4/14/2004 9:41:28 PM
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Afeni Speaks to Students
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Afeni Shakur, mother of the slain rapper, spoke to a crowd of more than 500 at Fayetteville State University as part of the Chancellor's Distinguished Speakers Series.

Clark said he liked the music of Tupac Shakur because it was positive.

''It wasn't just all gangsta music; he was a teacher," Clark said.

''It was like, 'Hold your head up,''' said Gibran McNeal, a freshman from Alexandria, Va.

Tupac Shakur was shot to death in September 1996 in Las Vegas. Afeni Shakur sued his record label for ownership of his music. She continues to produce unreleased songs and promote her son's music.

A Lumberton native

Afeni Shakur is a native of Lumberton and owns a farm in Robeson County.

''When my son was murdered in 1996, I had been clean and sober for five years," Shakur said. ''I had my right mind when he was murdered.

''I feel very grateful and humbled to be standing here. This is a wonderful thing, this historically black university.

''I thank you for finishing high school and getting here after you stayed focused. But I am going to ask you to continue to be focused," Shakur said.

''Tupac died when he was 25," Shakur said. ''I want you to understand how much you can achieve in your life."

Shakur said her son had a thirst for learning.

''His vision was larger than mine," she said. ''I did not know he would have the impact that he did."

Shakur said Tupac spoke to people who were victims of incest and ''throwaways."

''No one else was talking to people in pain," she said.

''God sent someone to do that in your generation."

After the speech, Daniel Rodriguez, who is 30, said Tuesday was ''one of the greatest days of my life."

He attended the lecture with his 12-year-old son.

''When I was young I didn't have a father around, and my mother struggled with substance abuse,'' he said.

He said he was embarrassed about his family's situation.

''Then Pac came out, and he spoke his message," he said. ''It made me feel like I didn't have to be embarrassed about it, and I had someone who understood me."

Rodriguez said he doesn't let his son listen to all of Tupac Shakur's music.

''I don't want to expose him to stuff that hopefully he won't have to go through," he said.

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