Tupac: Introduction & “Resurrection”

The image featured on this page comes from a product released roughly a decade after Tupac’s death:  questions about artistic “afterlife”, which for Byron and Wilde perhaps seemed a relatively vague part of cultural history, are more prominent with respect to 2Pac’s career.  

Consider the above a way of leading into my initial questions: are we in the “present” now? Or does Tupac feel like another historical figure? Tupac Shakur died September 13, 1996; if that was your birthday, you’d be 20 years old today.  Once upon a time, professors taught 2Pac so that young people could “relate.” Does that still apply? Or has 2Pac come to feel “historical” or “classic”? (Defining those terms, of course, should seem like a good idea….)  These questions help us think about motive, which we’ll all be thinking more about as we think about research paper topics:  what makes a contemporary artist matter?


Now, to the documentary, one of our two introductory texts.

The documentary Tupac: Resurrection was authorized by 2Pac’s mother; the Wikipedia biographical entry, “Tupac Shakur” is authored by some 3,000 individual writers. Two very different texts, then, with very different purposes. By juxtaposing these texts, I mean to suggest that the “real” Tupac is not going to be an easy figure to find–and maybe that shouldn’t even be our goal. Tupac will let us begin to think about revisions of the “classic” poet-rockstar concept (exemplified by Byron and Wilde); he exists in a world where the mass media are inseparable from the process of star production and where the starring role is no longer necessarily occupied by a white man of European descent.

Let’s start with a comparative question: questions of “reliability” seem both crucial and complicated with respect to these two texts. Wikipedia has its own particular standards for “objectivity”; a biography authorized by Tupac Shakur’s estate will potentially have very different standards.

Where does the biopic’s lack of “objectivity” hurt it; where does it work in the film’s favor?  Be as specific as possible in your references.

If you want to comment on more general “poet-rockstar” moments, where the film’s depiction of Tupac resonates with our image of the poet-rockstar, you can do that as well!



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