Oct. 5, 2006
Vol. 26 No. 2

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    Shakur to begin dialogue at ‘Portrait of a Revolutionary,’ hip-hop historian Powell to conclude discussion

    By William Harms
    News Office

    The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture will launch the new academic year with an event titled “Portrait of a Revolutionary,” featuring Afeni Shakur, a former leader of the Black Panther Party in New York, and a talk by Kevin Powell, a respected essayist and commentator on popular culture.

    Shakur, who also is the mother of slain hip hop artist Tupac Shakur, will give the center’s annual public lecture at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6, in Mandel Hall. Her appearance commemorates the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense as well as the 10th anniversary of her son’s death. University of Illinois professor of history Barbara Ransby will conduct an on-stage interview with Shakur.

    A screening of the documentary film Tupac: Resurrection at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, will be followed by a question-and-answer session led by Shakur at the DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Place.

    Shakur is founder and CEO of Amaru Entertainment/Amaru Records and established the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation. The record company has released works by her son as well as a book of his poetry and a CD, both titled “The Rose That Grew from Concrete.”

    As a Black Panther member, Shakur became a section leader who organized community improvement programs. However, her life was filled with conflict, including being arrested for conspiracy as part of the Panther NY21 for which she was found innocent after pleading her own case.

    She then became a tenant organizer and paralegal. After a period of drug abuse, she reconciled a strained relationship with her son, Tupac, and since 1990 has been leading a life in recovery.

    Powell, a hip-hop historian, will discuss his new book Someday We’ll All Be Free in a 7 p.m. talk Monday, Oct. 9, in Assembly Hall at International House. The book includes essays on the 2004 presidential campaign, 9-11, and Hurricane Katrina and the resulting Gulf Coast tragedy.

    Powell was a founding writer for VIBE Magazine and is the author of six books, including Who’s Gonna Take the Weight? Manhood, Race, and Power in America, which was on the Essence magazine bestseller list. Powell was the lead presidential correspondent for the 2004 campaign for the BET network, and he is a regular commentator on BET, VH1, MTV and National Public Radio.

    Opening activities for the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture include a joint open house with the Center for Gender Studies from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 11.

    For more information on CSRPC programs, courses and funding opportunities, visit http://csrp.uchicago.edu.