With Pride month in full effect, it has been announced that the estate of the legendary rapper, Tupac Shakur, will be releasing its new Pride collection with all proceeds going to pro LGBTQIA+ organizations.
The collection was released just a few days shy of what would have been the late rapper's 50th birthday.
Shakur’s estate dropped three pieces; a black hoodie, a black t-shirt and a white t-shirt. All three items feature the artist’s Grammy-nominated track, “Changes” in rainbow coloring along with his stage name, “2Pac”. The track highlighted the struggles that minority communities face as well as growing up in poverty.
Shakur has been brought into question several times when it comes to his views on the LGBTQIA+ community and has often been referred to as “homophobic” according to former music executive, Suge Knight. Knight claims that on one occasion Tupac told Dr. Dre, “I don’t want to be doing songs with a guy who’s pounding other guys in the butt.”
While the rapper isn’t here to speak on these claims, his family swiftly jumped in to clear any confusion. According to TMZ, Shakur’s family believes that Knight’s statements were “totally false.”
The rapper’s family reflects on the strong friendship shared between him and the famous designer, Gianni Versace who was an openly gay man. They even referred to Shakur’s participation in a Versace fashion show in Italy back in 1996 where he “even rocked a Versace suit on the catwalk.”
Nonetheless, many fans feel that no matter what side Tupac stood on, he would not be on board with this collection.
Twitter user, @titanwarrior4 writes, “As a gay and a lover of hip hop, I don’t approve of this personally. Let our blk men live on in the spirit they preferred. Don’t make 2Pac a gay hero! He didn’t identify with this so leave him out of it.”
Another user @generalsherm1 states, “How are you going to take a song about a black man’s experience and turn it into merch for the lgbtq+ community? You can never share your black experience without it being monopolized by another group. Not to mention, of ALL songs they could have chose it had to be that one? I swear sometimes these things are intentional. Absolutely disgusting. If someone could please tell me why this would be a good song to represent the LGBTQ+ please lmk”.
However, there were a few fans that saw it differently. @mikeljoshua shares,
“Not people on here acting like they knew PAC in real life saying he didn’t stand for this. He stood for equality and human rights. He was inclusive to those who didn’t have a voice. He would be so disappointed in his ‘fans’ who are targeting hate for this merch.”
@Imtheemike18 was ready to drop some coins on the new merch commenting, “Let me go buy one since it got y’all homophobes heated”.
While Shakur was a big advocate for equality, many feel that he prioritized and felt more strongly about the advancement of the black community. In fact, numerous fans are calling for a Juneteenth collection, as they feel it’d be more appropriate based on his long history of speaking out on black issues.
It’s important to mention that Tupac Shakur’s estate is being overseen by Tom Whalley, the head of Loma Vista Recordings who worked with the rapper while he was at Interscope, according to Daily Mail.
“Whalley had been overseeing the estate since 2013, and after Afeni's death in 2016, her attorney Howard King told Billboard that Tupac's estate will be largely unaffected by Afeni's death.”
As of now, none of the late rapper's family have spoken on the situation though many fans are asking that they speak out and put a stop to the project.
For any future updates on this story, be sure to check back with Gaye Magazine to stay in the loop!