By JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr., AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tupac Shakur received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday, just several days before the hip-hop legend’s birthday.
The late rapper’s sister, Sekyiwa “Set” Shakur, accepted the star on behalf of their family. During her speech, she shed tears while describing her older brother’s vision of being celebrated with a star in Hollywood.
“From the first time he stepped foot on this stage of the Apollo Theater at 13 years old, before anyone recognized his name, he knew he had the dream to have a star here on the Walk of Fame,” said Sekyiwa Shakur, who often took deep breaths between sentences to collect herself.
The Walk of Fame said Shakur was selected to receive a star in 2013, but the organization waited for his family and estate to select a date.
Shakur was given the 2,758th star on the Walk of Fame. His birthday is June 16.
“Now we gather here today to unveil Tupac’s star not only paying tribute to his contributions to the music industry, but also speaks volumes to the lasting impact he’s had on this world,” she continued. “Today, we’re not just honoring a star in the ground. But we’re honoring the work and the passion that he’s put into making his dreams come true.”
Shakur, one of the most prolific figures in hip-hop, died in 1996 from gunshot wounds at the age of 25. His professional music career only lasted five years, but he sold more than 75 million records worldwide, including the diamond-certified album “All Eyez on Me,” which was packed with hits including “California Love (Remix)”, “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” and “How Do U Want It.” He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2017.
As an actor, Shakur starred in several popular films such as “Poetic Justice,” “Gang Related,” “Juice” and “Above the Rim.”
“He defied the distinction between art and activism,” said radio personality Big Boy, who emceed the ceremony. He spoke about how Shakur has been remembered with museum exhibits dedicated to the entertainer, including “Tupac Shakur. Wake Me When I’m Free” last year and “All Eyez on Me” at the Grammy Museum in 2015. He’ll soon have a stretch of an Oakland street renamed after him.
Big Boy shouted out several attendees, including comedian Mike Epps, rapper YG, actor Bokeem Woodbine and the Outlawz, a rap group that was founded by Shakur.
Many in the crowd often yelled Tupac’s name while others blasted some of his biggest hits such as “Dear Mama,” “Changes” and “Ambitionz Az a Ridah.”
“Tupac Amaru Shakur has become a global symbol of rebellion – a symbol as visible and important as Malcolm X and Che Guevara and an inspiration to activists today,” said Allen Hughes, who directed the FX documentary “ Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur.” The documentary delves into the rapper’s mother, Afeni Shakur’s, past as a female leader in the Black Panther Party while exploring Tupac’s journey as a political visionary and becoming one of the greatest rap artists of all time.
“The world feels Tupac’s message,” Hughes said about Shakur, who was born in New York. “Not so bad for a little Black boy from Harlem, right?”