TUPAC TUESDAY: 2Pac feat The Black Angel aka Dave Hollister- Keep Ya Head Up (1993)

Some say the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice
I say the darker the flesh then the deeper the roots
I give a holler to my sisters on welfare
Tupac cares, if don’t nobody else care
And uhh, I know they like to beat ya down a lot
When you come around the block brothas clown a lot
But please don’t cry, dry your eyes, never let up
Forgive but don’t forget, girl keep your head up

It’s nearly impossible to pick the best Pac song, but you’d almost have to admit this is a Top 5. He not only gives a pep-talk to Black women to press on, he also tells Black men to be men and reminds children to stay positive despite the negative environment they inherited. The fact he did this without coming off corny or preachy is remarkable and stirring. This song is required listening to youths coming up in today’s society.

This positive message was especially needed in the early 90s after communities began to really see all of the negative effects of the Reagan Crack Cocaine Era. The nuclear family had become a thing of the past and households were in disaray. This is why Pac stated figuratively “I blame my mother for turning my brother into a crack baby.” In a 2005 study stated that nuclear families with the original biological parents constitute roughly 24.1% of households, compared to 40.3% in 1970. Roughly 75% of all children in the United States will spend at least some time in a single-parent household. “And then they wonder why we crazy?”

“You know it’s funny when it rains it pours
They got money for wars, but can’t feed the poor
Say there ain’t no hope for the youth and the truth is
it ain’t no hope for tha future”

What Pac was saying was that our youth are only going to be a reflection of society and if we continue to neglect them, what kind of future can we expect?

The Hate U Gave Little Infants F**ks Everyone= THUG LIFE.

But despite all of these dirty conditions, in the end…YA GOTTA KEEP YA HEAD UP!!!!!!



 Pac’s HS classmate Jada Pinket appears at :27 and his mother Afeni Shakur is shown throughout the video, starting at 2:17.fddddd

A young pre-BLACKstreet Dave Hollister sings the chorus and is credited as “The Black Angel.” He also sang on Pac’s first single, “Brenda’s Got A Baby.”

This video was dedicated to LaTasha Harlins and at the beginning of the video it states: “Dedicated to the memory of LATASHA HARLINS…it’s still on.”

In case you’re wondering who she was, here’s her Wikipedia entry:

Latasha Harlins (1976 – March 16, 1991) was a 15 year-old African-American girl who was shot and killed on March 16, 1991 by Soon Ja Du, a 51 year-old Korean store owner. Harlins was a student at Westchester High School in Los Angeles, California. Because Harlins’ death came just thirteen days after the videotaped beating of Rodney King and Du was only imposed with a probation, a fine and community service for her action, some sources cited the shooting as one of the causes of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

The following paragraphs summarizes the transcript of court case, People v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County.[1] The South Los Angeles store, Empire Liquor was normally staffed by Du’s husband and son. However, on the morning of the shooting, Du was working behind the counter, and her husband was outside resting in the family’s van.

Du saw Harlins putting a bottle of orange juice in her backpack. Du erroneously concluded that Harlins was attempting to steal, evidently not seeing the money Harlins was holding.[2][3]Du attempted to grab Harlins by the sweater and snatched her backpack. Harlins then struck Du with her fist three times, knocking Du to the ground. After Harlins backed away Du then threw a stool at her. Harlins then picked up the orange juice that dropped during the scuffle, threw[4] it on the counter and turned to leave. Du reached under the counter to retrieve a handgun. Du then fired at Harlins from behind and shot her in the back of her head, then fainted. Du’s husband, Billy Heung Ki Du, heard the shot and rushed into the store. After speaking to his wife, who falsely[4] claimed having been robbed, he dialed 9-1-1 to report the shooting. Paramedics soon arrived, but Harlins was dead, her two dollars still in her left hand.[5].

Du testified on her own behalf, stating that it was self-defense and that her life was in danger, but her words were contradicted by the statements of the two witnesses present at the time and the security camera footage, which showed her shooting Harlins in the back of the head as Harlins was attempting to leave the store. However, the Los Angeles police department ballistics expert report also found that the handgun Du used was altered in such a way that, compared to an ordinary handgun, much less pressure on the trigger was necessary to result in firing.[5]

The jury found Du guilty of voluntary manslaughter with a 16-year prison sentence recommendation, believing that Du’s shooting was fully within her control and she fired the gun voluntarily. The presiding judge, Joyce Karlin reduced the sentence to probation of five years, four hundred hours of community service, and a $500.00 fine.[6][7]

The incident and reduced sentencing by the court exacerbated already existing tensions between African-American residents and Asian-American merchants in South Central Los Angeles. Those tensions were later interpreted as being one of the catalysts of the 1992 Los Angeles riots as numerous Korean owned businesses were attacked.[8][9] 

Tupac Shakur
Popular rapper Tupac Shakur took particular note of the Harlins’ death and in 1993, released a song entitled “Keep Ya Head Up” which was dedicated to Latasha Harlins. Thereafter, Shakur made frequent mention of Harlins in his songs, including tracks like “Thugz Mansion” (“Little Latasha, she’s grown/ Tell the lady in the liquor store that she’s forgiven/ So come home”) and “Hellrazor” (“Dear Lord if ya hear me, tell me why/ Little girl like LaTasha, had to die/”).[8][9]

Here’s a brief clip of Pac in an interview and him rapping the 1st verse of Keep Ya Head Up acapella in a classroom. Powerful words.

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