By Kalonji Jama Changa
6/16/2006 11:05:13 AM
Tags and topics realted to this article include 2Pac. Hip Hop, Rap, Interviews and Anniversary.
What follows is an interview that took place at the office of the International Committee to Support Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (formerly H.Rap Brown). Bilal lays it down about Tupac and how the Shakur Family came about.
When some people hear the name Bilal Sunni-Ali, they think of the world renown musician from the Legendary Gil Scot-Heron's Band. The Group that brought us the Liberation Classic, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" and appeared on stages and screens around the globe, including a Saturday Night Live Special with the Late Comedy King, Richard Pryor. When others hear the name Bilal Sunni-Ali, they think of the Black Panther from New York who was a co-defendant in the United States vs. Dr. Mutulu Shakur case. The case that was known in the Revolutionary Community as, "The Republic of New Afrika vs the United States". In this case, the state was claiming that a "Criminal Enterprise" existed and that they were a part of it. They claim the "Criminal Enterprise" was responsible for what they called bank robberies, armored truck robberies, murder of policemen, wounding policemen, kidnapping policemen, kidnapping prison guards, etc. The defendants were charged with 31 different counts. Some of the charges were in conjunction with the liberation of Assata Shakur.
Kalonji: What is the Origin of the Shakur Family which Tupac was born into?
Bilal: The Shakur Family is a family from the East Coast, the head of the Family was El Hajj Sallahudin Shakur. We affectionately called him Abba, which means Father. He was physically the father of two of the Panther leaders on the East Coast, Zayd Malik Shakur and Lumumba Abdul Shakur. There were very few of us in the Movement that had fathers in the Movement. El Hajj Sallahudin Shakur was an associate of El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X), he was a member of the Muslim Mosque Incorporated and also a member of the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He made Hajj one year after Malcolm. As we were coming up Abba was at the top. We aspired to be like him. I became closely associated with Lumumba Abdul Shakur and I began to refer to El Hajj Sallahudin Shakur as Abba, too. As if he was my father and Abba accepted that. He accepted all of us who related to him, as his children and he was a father to us as much as he could be. He gave guidance, he gave us an understanding because he was a Muslim, he gave us an understanding of what it meant to be Muslim, as far as standing up for justice. For advocating justice and for fighting for what was right for our people. He had an understanding that anyone who is oppressed like this regardless of who it is, Muslims need to fight for them and since it is us ourselves, then for sure we need to be involved in as much struggle for our liberation and organizing as possible. A lot of people just saw religion as a way, not to be in the struggle . He gave us the understanding that to be in Islam, was the way to be in the struggle. He was also a Pan-Africanist, he worked, had property and lived part of the time in Africa. The family had property and business in Ghana and he was a business man. He taught us all to be self-sufficient. He had money, he showed us you could hustle, make money legally, and still he didn't have to let the United States Government know what his personal business was. That was a very important lesson we learned from El Hajj Sallahudin Shakur.
Kalonji: How did the Shakur Family spread?
Bilal: Abba was our father. There were many people on the east coast who were involved in not only the Black Panther Party, but other organizations around at that time that gravitated towards El Hajj Sallahudin Shakur. The Shakur family is all of those young brothers and sisters who were involved in struggle, not all were Muslim, but the majority were Muslim. It may have been at one time maybe 50 of us. A lot of people who weren't part of the Shakur family, the police would refer to them as Shakur anyway,
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