By Nina Bhadreshwar


He was a living poem. Most poets break out of their words, their metaphors eventually, faithless to their vision, leaving that commitment to the ink and the page.


But Pac wrote his in flesh and blood.  Performance artists, exhibitionists, political activists use extreme measures to get their point of view across. But it takes a different class and level of surrender to eloquently speak a pain, a different commitment knowing you are misunderstood, misinterpreted, condemned with the ones you are trying to free, maligned and hunted. That in the end they may never see you or the light - just the thug.  Van Gogh said the highest form of art was love. No one loved the oppressed and abandoned kids more than Tupac. You will never know him, though you pry and prise, lift and sift the evidence and facts, thoughts and opinions of so many who shared his physical space. No matter how many try to emulate him, tattooing their own frames, following the same life trajectory - you are still as far away as ever. His art was not about self-expression or self-revelation; it was the purest kind: light itself shining into darkness, exposing its oppression, corruption and degradation. And the naked darkness, ashamed and alarmed that its filth had been brought to light threw its rot at him to deflect the world's attention.

'It's Tupac! It's Tupac! Look at Tupac! Thuglife!' it cried. 'West Side! East Side! Tupac, Tupac, Tupac!' as they smothered him with their hate, fear and jealousy. Put out the light, put out the light and then put out the light.


But his light still shines, will always shine. No prison, no darkness will ever confine the illumination of his glorious mind, real truth and love, real compassion and courage in the face of imminent death. He is a star despite the degradation of celebrity. His light is still the only candle burning in a dim 21st century hole they want us to forget, guiding old souls in young bodies home.


He was a living poem written by God. He surrendered himself up and that is why he will never be surpassed. He is God's own handiwork, God's own message and still, seventeen years on, you cannot hear.  But then this particular poem can only be interpreted by the author himself. No matter what is done or not done, his legacy and impact will continue til the end of time itself, his story is forever.


There is only one way you will see Tupac again: look to the light, stop looking at the dark he exposed. By May 1995, he was 'dead to Thuglife and alive for one reason only'.  His words - not mine.