Tupac #12 On Black Icon List     

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10/25/2004 4:55:54 AM
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Tupac #12 On Black Icon List
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They are people whose achievements transcended mere fame. In an age characterised by synthetic celebrity, they are recalled as figures of substance and longevity.

The newspaper The  New Nation reports, the individuals most worthy of iconic status are Jesus, the Rev Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. As such they have been allotted the top three places in a 100-strong list of the greatest icons ever.

The fact that all three can be said to have fought injustice only to have their contributions curtailed by untimely death seems to have enhanced their appeal.

There is also a distinctly political element to the ranking. In keeping with some academics' opinion of Jesus' likely physical appearance, the newspaper depicts him as black.

The figures placed fourth and fifth, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali, are both still alive but also share the common trait of having rebelled and prevailed against overwhelming odds.

An expert panel of the publication's editors, writers and contributors selected the list, published by the newspaper today as its finale to Black History Month.

It is almost evenly split between living and dead icons. More than three quarters of them are men and more than a third of them are entertainers.

The highest ranking British icon and woman on the list is the pioneering nurse Mary Seacole, followed by the politician Bernie Grant and the former Olympic champion Daley Thompson. There are 12 Britons in the list.

None of the current black MPs makes the list, nor do such international figures as the UN secretary general Kofi Annan, and the US secretary of state Colin Powell and security adviser Condoleezza Rice

The golfer Tiger Woods, the newscaster Sir Trevor McDonald and the comedian Lenny Henry are not there either.

But it does contain many names that might appear on such a list compiled by a cross-section of Britain's various communities - Oprah Winfrey is placed seventh and Bob Marley eighth. Pele is 11th.

But there are also inclusions which say much about sections of the black community and a particular world view.

At number 12 is Tupac Shakur, the controversial rapper and actor whose advocacy of gangster rap is reviled by mainstream America although his thoughts on black life resonated with many in black communities on both sides of the Atlantic. He was shot dead in 1996.

The next is Michael Jackson who, despite the child abuse allegations which have lowered his stock with mainstream audiences, retains much affection.

At number 14 is the Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. He is banned by the Home Office from entering Britain on the grounds that his "anti-semitic and racially divisive views" would "inevitably inflame tensions bet

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