For the past five years, librarian and Chabot Instructor Kim Morrison has taught a course about the late, famous rapper and actor Tupac Amaru Shakur. This themed course on Tupac is intended to build student’s research skills. The course isn’t about just listening to Tupac’s music, watching his movies, documentaries and learning his life it’s more than that. It’s about students choosing a topic that he raps about or is associated with him.
Kim Morrison says “Students in this course will choose a topic that relates to Tupac or around him. This semester someone is doing their research on his mother (Afeni Shakur) in prison and how she defends herself. Someone is doing a research project on homelessness. Someone is doing one on Ida B. Wells and how she brought attention to the black men that were being lynched in the south. She was a reporter, and the student is writing about how she brought attention to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, then comparing it” to what Ida B. Wells reported on”
In his songs Tupac covers all kinds of subjects, like teen pregnancy in “Brenda Got a Baby”, social justice and police brutality issues in “Trapped”, being raised and loved by a single mother “Dear Mama”, a person being judged by their race in “Only God Can Judge Me”, a young man joining a gang and peer pressure in “Shorty Wanna Be a Thug” and more topics.
Sean Kain, a Chabot College student, says “It’s good that Chabot has this class on and about Pac because he is one of my favorite artists. I was only two-year-old when he was killed, but I was raised on his music, and it had such an impact on my life. His music was about being black and having black pride, not only black pride but pride in ourselves and in every culture.”
Chabot student Damon Laresca added “I’ve never taken the class, but I’m interested in learning about him and what made him as famous as he was before he died. I like his songs it’s like he can do one song about going to the club partying and having fun like “California Love” Then he can also have songs that make you think like “So Many Tears,” and besides Kendrick Lamar we don’t have that type of artist no more for this generation and I think that’s sad.”
Salimah “Mrs. Makaveli” Shabazz says, “It’s awesome taking the Tupac class. I almost know everything there is to know about Pac already, but my career goal is to teach a class like Ms. Kim. I want to bring awareness to social justice issues through Tupac’s music and videos. Tupac had a tremendous impact on me. Everyone calls me Mrs. Makaveli. I have a Tupac tattoo and a 21-year-old son name Shakur. How much more aspiring can he be to me to name my son after him? If you haven’t seen a movie with Tupac in it, I would suggest “Poetic Justice” because that’s one of the most positive black movies that he was in.”