KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tupac Shakur’s sister is in Kansas City to try to stop the violence.
“I’m a 40-something African-American woman in America. Gun violence is like my cousin,” Sekyiwa Shakur said, sitting in a clothing store at 18th and Vine Thursday.
But it’s her brother’s murder that affected a generation. She’s the little sister of famed rapper, Tupac, killed in a drive-by shooting in 1996.
Shakur said her big brother was a father figure to her. She believes strong male role models are something that’s missing in many of those who turn to violence.
“I was raised by one of the biggest hearts that ever lived,” Shakur said.
Shakur now is the President of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation after her mother’s death. She said although his lyrics are often misunderstood, Tupac and his mission for “Thug Life” were to stop violence.
She’s now trying to honor her family’s legacy.
“I have to now stand up and be a part of what helps fix little girls like me,” she said.
Shakur will join Omar Gooding and others in a Poetry Slam Against Violence this weekend organized by P.O.S.S.E.
The group’s founder, Ossco Bolton, lost a relative in last weekend’s triple homicide.
“That’s family, and it hurts to understand, to think that someones doing something positive with their life can be gunned down. My biggest thing is to let people know that even outside KC, that people think about us and care about us,” Bolton said.
More than 100 people gathered at 46th and Benton on Thursday to remember 42-year-old Larona “Rhonda” Jones.
“My sister was outgoing caring kind heart. She was the joy of our family,” Ta’Nai Jones said.
At the vigil, like most, at least one person was wearing a shirt of one of their heroes, Tupac Shakur.
“Hip hop was a way out, and he really didn’t promote violence,” said Crystal Williams May, whose son Mack Jones, a Kansas City rapper, was found dead in July.
Shakur recited from memory one of her favorite Tupac poems she may read at Saturday’s event at PlexPod Westport Commons,
“Sometimes when I’m alone I cry,
Cause I am on my own.
The tears I cry are bitter and warm.
They flow with life but take no form.”
Shakur believes Tupac’s music and message would have evolved had he lived past 25.
“He didn’t live long enough to finish his conversation, and I know my brother cares still from above,” Shakur said.