Tupac Shakur was a beloved rapper, actor, and leader. The iconic MC was only in the spotlight for a short period of time, but during that time, he displayed all the makings of a generational talent on par with some of the greats. In death, his life has become somewhat of a legend, with every aspect of it mulled over by fans to feel closer to him. His mother, Afeni Shakur, became a point of interest for fans both during his lifetime and after. She became a powerful voice in her own right. His step-father, Mutulu Shakur, is lesser known to fans but also has an incredible story. Let’s take a look at the man who helped raise one of the greatest artists of all time.
Mutulu Shakur was born Jeral Wayne Williams on August 8, 1950. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland but moved to Jamaica, Queens, shortly after. While there, he started getting involved in political activism. By his early teens, he was already a member of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM). He later joined the Republic of New Afrika as well. He also worked extensively in the healthcare industry, creating techniques in acupuncture aimed towards helping people detox. Mutulu became very well known for his work and traveled the world as a result. It is said that by the end of the ’70s, “Dr. Shakur was invited to address members of the medical community around the world. He lectured on his work at many medical conferences and was invited to the People’s Republic of China.”
Like his wife Afeni, Mutulu was also a former member of the Black Liberation Army. In 1981 Mutulu was involved in the robbery of an armored truck that resulted in the guard and two police officers losing their lives. In total they stole $1.6 million in cash, and Matulu managed to escape and avoid police for almost six years. Eventually, he was captured after being placed on the FBI’s “most wanted” list. Mutulu was eventually sentenced to 60 years behind hars.
Mutulu Shakur was the adopted step-brother of Afeni’s first husband, Lumumba. Mutulu and Afeni married following Lumumba’s passing in 1971. At the time, Afeni and Lumumba were seperated. Lumumba left her after he found out he was not Tupac’s biological father. Afeni and Mutulu married in 1975 and shared one biological child together, Sekyiwa Shakur. They would later divorce in 1982. He is Mopreme Shakur’s father from a different marriage.
Mutulu stepped in and shared a close bond with Tupac after marrying his mother. Together they wrote the famous Code Of Thug Life, described as “a set of rules discouraging unprovoked violence between gangs. ” Tulu recalls keeping Tupac out all hours of the night, attending meetings and gatherings, and educating the boy on matters that would eventually become central to who Tupac Shakur was. Jamie Hector portrayed Mutulu in Tupac’s 2017 biopic All Eyez On Me.
Mutulu has been behind bars for over 30 years. He was made eligible for parole in 2016 and again in 2018 and was denied both times. Many urged former president Barack Obama to pardon him before leaving office in 2016. They argued that Mutulu was a political prisoner and should be allowed back into his neighborhood where he could continue to do good and help his community.
Mutulu was diagnosed with cancer while in jail. He’s also sick with hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, glaucoma, and the aftereffects of a 2013 stroke while in solitary confinement. Unfortunately, the same judge who sentenced Mutulu over 30 years ago denied his request for a compassionate release in 2020, arguing that his health issues were not “life-threatening” enough.
It seems Mutulu is now nearing his final days. Doctors say that he only has six months left to live, and supporters are demanding his release so that he can live out his final days as a free man. “He suffers right now from an incurable terminal case of melanoma as well as bone marrow cancer,” said a news source. His son, Mopreme, says that his father is so ill he can no longer tell his kids apart and has been displaying signs of confusion and memory loss. Supported argue that they’ve been trying different options but to no avail.
“Every legal effort has been made and is being explored, from compassionate release to clemency to [advocating for] changing the law that would allow people in Dr. Mutulu Shakur’s category sentenced under the law to get the benefits of release,” said attorney Nkechi Taifa. “It has to go beyond what we can do in the legal realm. It has to be a unified call from the people.”