Their dramatic early years began with conception under non-normative circumstances. Mary’s mysterious virginal conception could have led her community to accuse her of adultery. Afeni Shakur’s decidedly non-virginal conception occurred while she was out on bail. Afeni was accused of planning to bomb New York City public spaces. Neither woman was guilty of the accusations raised against them, but scandal still surrounded their pregnancies. The stress of the accusations was augmented by the fact that Mary was traveling while pregnant, and Afeni was imprisoned while pregnant.
Jesus was born into poverty in a manger in Bethlehem. Tupac was born into poverty in New York City. As poor minority babies, their families moved around a lot. Jesus’ family fled to avoid the state-sanctioned oppression that was Herod’s wrath. Herod wanted to kill Jesus simply because of who he was. Tupac’s family moved in and out of shelters to avoid the state-sanctioned oppression also known as institutionalized racism. No one wanted to help Afeni because of who she was: a former member of the Black Panther Party. Both boys’ stepfathers came from lineages filled with unscrupulous characters. There was no silver spoon for either child.
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