The Tupac Biopic: Hollywood’s Continued Cowardice

It’d be nice to have this published, but I really can’t afford to wait until after the film’s release to put this out.

Why do the All Eyez On Me biopic-ers care about the approval of criminals responsible for Tupac Shakur’s murder?

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When Universal/HBO released Brett Morgen’s Montage of Heck, documenting the life of rock legend Kurt Cobain, they enjoyed a critical reception worthy of the Arc of the Covenant. Scores of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes — pretty much the best score attainable since the rise of Armond White — and 84 on Metacritic are enough to bring tears to the eyes of directors and blood to the groins of producers. Indeed, the reception has been so remarkable, almost no one ever bothers bringing up that the events as described in the film were almost entirely fabrication; crafted to please the dope-fiending, domestic-abusing, multi-hundred millionaire chained in matrimony like a twenty-pound sphere to the late subject during the last years of his suicide-solution’d life.

Director Benny Boom’s upcoming biopic (as of the writing of this article: June 9th, 2017) on the life of rap legend Tupac Shakur might or might not enjoy the reception of Morgen’s magnum mendacius, but Boom has already continued a proud Hollywood tradition of appeasement to the simultaneously wealthy, vicious, and criminal by not only sidestepping an ugly truth, but preemptively attaining approval of the aforementioned brute before the picture’s public debut. The recent press release to TMZ and Vibe, among other outlets, made clear whatever the merits of All Eyez on Me as a film, moguls Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and Marion “Suge” Knight both approve of their portrayal in the picture.

On its own, that would be disgusting. Considering one of the picture’s producers, L.T. Hutton (himself a record producer connected to Knight) actively looked for these men’s blessings before blasting this farce across the Internet, it’s downright despicable.

Despite a flood of nonsense surrounding Pac murder (second only to Dallas, TX in 1963), the Las Vegas P.D., Los Angeles P.D., and the F.B.I. closed the books on both cases years ago. Viewers of former-detective Greg Kading’s excellent Indiegogo-funded documentary Murder Rap — Kading was the cold-case detective assigned to the Wallace case after Wallace’s mother sued the L.A.P.D. for a nine-figure sum, and the film is based on his book of the same name — can hear confirmation that the murders were connected from the mouth of the very man ordered to carry out Shakur’s murder, one Duane “Keefe D” Davis, as well as a sworn statement from a girlfriend of Knight’s (albeit one given anonymously under the name “Theresa Swan”) that said crime was the motive for the retaliatory assassination of Combs’ biggest act, Christopher Wallace (better known under his nom de plume The Notorious B.I.G.).

Davis, a Southside Compton Crip gangster, admits the cause of the shooting was a blood feud between Knight and Combs, the respective owners of Shakur and Wallace’s record labels; and that he personally was ordered by Combs on two occasions to have Tupac killed for one million dollars: once in a room full of a few dozen Crips, the other over a private dinner. The shooting was conducted in Las Vegas on the night of a WBA heavyweight championship fight between Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon from a car by Davis’s own nephew, Orlando Anderson, himself a Crip who was gunned down in an unrelated gang shooting the following year.

Davis was subsequently stiffed for his services.

On the word of Swan (corroborated by a mountain of evidence), Knight later retaliated by having Combs’ hottest act, Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace, assassinated in return by a Mob Piru Blood gangster and close friend of Knight’s named Wardell “Poochie” Fouse. Like Anderson, Fouse was shot in the back while riding a motorcycle in the Summer of 2003, supposedly due to a feud with the Fruit Town Pirus. Knight has been left destitute and incarcerated for what would likely be a life sentence even assuming he skids his upcoming charge for the 2015 murder of one Terry Carter. Justice for the murder of The Notorious B.I.G. was roundabout, but at least it actually happened.

Sean Combs, however, not only continues to elude justice, he’s made R. Kelly and David Miscavige look like rank amateurs. His estimated net worth dwarfs the actual net worth of nearly every other figure in music (and as readers of Tim O’Brien would know, that of our President). He assaulted his son’s college football coach with a kettlebell and didn’t suffer so much as a chafe from the handcuffs. He sampled the beat to his wretched tribute single to the friend whose murder his behavior enabled from a song about a stalker, which then spent eleven weeks at number one in the U.S. and sold eight million copies worldwide. Combs should never receive anything more polite than a box of tarantulas, yet his boots are licked clean by the men making a movie with an eight-figure budget about the man he ordered killed.

All Eyez on Me is but one of many Hollywood pictures to stick its head in the sand. Spike Lee wrote Louis Farrakhan out of existence when adapting The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Christopher Nolan used the line “they work for Thomas Edison” when torch-wielding goons destroyed Nikola Tesla’s Colorado laboratory in The Prestige to avoid ruffling feathers with a more accurate “they work for General Electric.” Scott Cooper’s Black Mass paints the Whitey Bulger scandal as the work of the one F.B.I. agent who’s actually serving time for the wretched affair rather than shame anyone who could possibly launch a lawsuit. Cowardice is easy when long zeroes are at stake, and even easier with already-indifferent consumers.

But this is a fragile matter, and any aspiring stone-thrower can show this emperor’s naked as the statue of David with one share of an article that refuses to buy into Californian deliberate delusion. L.T. Hutton is a coward, Benny Boom is a stooge, Sean Combs is a monster, and no moviegoer with any self-respect should entertain All Eyez on Me.

It’s time to kill these lies at the source.

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O.R. Welles is a current writer and aspiring independently-wealthy writer who covers whatever he damn well pleases on his WordPress page, and anywhere else with the stones to run his pieces. He can be found daydreaming, and praying that Carl Sagan was overestimating the dangers of nuclear winter, wherever he lays his hat.

Author: O.R. Welles

Current writer. Aspiring independently-wealthy writer.

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