june 16 1971

2Pac: The Name, 1971.

On June 16, 1971, Lesane Parish Crooks was born in East Harlem, New York. Though his mother, Alice Faye Williams (Afeni Shakur), soon would change his name to the one which the whole world would later know him by: Tupac Amaru.

The name itself comes from an eighteenth century Peruvian Incan chief and revolutionary, who died opposing the oppressing Spanish rule.

But the story of why Tupac’s mother would change her son’s name goes deeper than the inspiring story of a long gone revolutionary leader. Afeni was, curiously, herself part of a revolutionary group, namely “The Black Panthers”. And as far as facts goes, Shakur was actually a commonly adopted name among “The Panthers”. It is Arabic and means something like “thankful to God”.

Amaru, on the other hand, is Quechua, the main launguage of the Incas, still spoken by over 8 million people, and it means “shining/sacred serpent”.