F. Kenneth Taylor
As we all know, yesterday, June 16th, was, what would’ve been Tupac Shakur’s 45th birthday. I suppose by now everyone’s heard the news that the Tupac A. Shakur biopic; “All Eyez On Me,” which was titled after one of the late artist’s most successful albums, has finally completed filming. The film has been in the works for approximately 5 years, and as The Ed Lover Show stated, “has been marred with controversy.”
I’ve been researching this most of this morning, but the controversy is so wide spread, and there’s so many conflicting reports as to how it initially began, as well as ‘why’ it initially began.
Perhaps, what’s most publicized in regards to the film is that 3 producers, including John Singleton, a close and long-time friend of Tupac, who the film’s original director; walked away from the film. Hip-Hop and R&B video producer/director, Benny Boom has replaced Singleton as Director.
There’s been a number of reasons as to why John Singleton stepped away, but Singleton himself released a statement on Instagram, in which he did not hold anything back, and clearly stated (in so many words)… the reason he quit the film was because the people making it did not have a sincere love, respect, and/or appreciation for Tupac. Additional reports state Singleton also left because the film only portrayed the “Thugg Life” image of Tupac, and less of the legendary artist as a man, activist, and someone who truly cared for Black people and culture.
At the beginning of production, the film’s creators were also entangled in legal battles with the late Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, over music rights. This legal matter escalated far enough to temporary halt production, and would conclude with Afeni Shakur joining the production staff.
True Tupac fans have flooded social media with their thoughts and arguments about everything from the excessive controversy and problems, to casting. There has been mixed-thoughts over Demetrius Shipp Jr., who will portray Tupac in his acting debut, as it was originally thought Marcc Rose, who briefly portrayed Tupac in “Straight Outta Compton,” would get the role. Fans are seemingly disappointed with the actor chosen to portray Suge Knight, but shows some level of approval with Jamal Woodard, as Notorious B.I.G (Christopher Wallace). Woodard also portrayed the late rapper in his 2009 biopic, “Notorious,” which co-starred, Starz “Power” co-star, Naturi Naughton as “Lil’ Kim.”
As a MAJOR Tupac fan, as I’m many other fans will agree… I’m highly disappointed that it took 20 years after Tupac’s death, and now the passing of Afeni, for this movie/biopic to finally be completed. It’s also unfortunate there was such bickering, legal debates, and drama with the production of the film, which postponed things even more. With as long as it’s taken for this film to finally be completed… it had damn well be worth the wait… but from the clips I’ve seen… I’m not impressed.
Its rumored that John Singleton is planning to direct/produce his own movie about Tupac that will ‘properly’ portray this legendary icon… Let’s hope so.