Jasmine Guy, perhaps best known for her role as “Whitley Gilbert” on A Different World, is spilling the beans on her friendship with Tupac Shakur. While many are privy to many details surrounding the legendary rapper’s relationship with Jada Pinkett-Smith, Cheryl “Salt” James, Monie Love, and others, they may not know about the special bond he shared with Guy.
The art of connection is real. Jasmine Guy met Jada Pinkett-Smith (then Jada Pinkett) as both actresses starred on A Different World. The Woo actress began her role as “Lena James” in the show’s fifth season and remained until the show’s end while Guy was one of the main characters for the entirety of the series’s run. The two’s friendship remained consistent following the show, as Guy’s wedding took place at Jada Pinkett’s residence.
The Harlem actress shared with Tamron Hall that she met the All Eyez On Me rapper when he made a guest appearance on A Different World in 1993. Because of his close relationship with Pinkett-Smith, they would all eventually begin to “hang out.” She even appeared in the music video for his single “Temptations.” Shortly after that, an unfortunate incident would occur that would cause injuries to Shakur in 1994. The actress recounted the incident and shared how it evolved their friendship and became close to his mother, Afeni Shakur.
Jasmine Guy revealed that while at the Bellevue Hospital, Tupac Shakur felt very “vulnerable” because he was unsure who was responsible for the incident. Feeling that he was in significant danger, the actress offered her apartment as a “hiding place” because “people didn’t even know we were friends.”
According to Jasmine Guy, also “very vulnerable” at the time of the traumatic event was Afeni Shakur. The incident drew Shakur’s mother closer to the School Daze actress, and soon, they began to spitball ideas. Guy recalls telling Afeni Shakur, “You know, you have a lot to give still.” She suggested a movie depicting her life accompanied by a speaking tour. Shakur, however, wanted a book written about her life “before, and after the [Black] Panthers,” as well as her drug addiction and recovery.
Jasmine Guy continued that Afeni Shakur was relentless in her truth being public knowledge. “There are a lot of people like me, and they need to know that you can get over. You can get through this,'” shared Jasmine Guy. This would become the 2004 biography Afeni Shakur: Evolution of a Revolutionary, written by the actress.
She added that there were parts of the book she did not want to include, but Afeni insisted she write it. “[Afeni] said, ‘You know, if we’re not going to do this all the way, then we don’t have to do it. Because I don’t need the money. I need the truth to get out.'” While Jasmine Guy’s conversation about a movie on Afeni Shakur’s life has not materialized yet, she claims to still have plans to make the film.