Afeni Shakur, who became famous for being the mother of late rapper Tupac Shakur, died yesterday in California at the age of 69. Tupac spoke openly about his mother’s influence on his life from her time as a Black Panther to her struggle with crack cocaine addiction. He immortalized her in the song, “Dear Mama” and praised her until he was murdered in 1996. Afeni Shakur gained control of her son’s estate after his passing and continued her community work by founding the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center For The Arts in Georgia. She also founded Amaru Entertainment which has released eight posthumous Tupac albums and the documentary Tupac: Resurrection. In 2014, she co-produced the 2014 Broadway musical Holla If Ya Hear Me which was a Broadway musical featuring Tupac’s music. Afeni Shakur had most recently worked as an executive producer of the Tupac biopic, All Eyez On Me which is scheduled for release in November.
President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted International Jazz Day at the White House this past weekend and there was a plethora of performers there for the event. Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, Dianne Reeves, Al Jarreau, Esperanza Spalding, Wayne Shorter, Pat Metheny, Terence Blanchard, Diana Krall, Kurt Elling, Rapsody and Aretha Franklin were just some of the entertainers present. Morgan Freeman was the emcee for the event that started five years but had its first appearance at the White House this year. After singing “A Song For You” earlier in the evening, Franklin lead the audience in a brief singalong of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”