Journal of Interdisciplinary Feminist Thought


Family, Life Course, and Society | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology of Religion


Although Tupac Shakur, American rapper, maintained in a late interview that he had gotten past his abandonment by his father, the absence of that father no doubt left him to fend for himself, scarred and confused. This sense of abandonment extended to the theological realm. For Shakur, God the Father “can’t come where I’m at.” He is, in a sense, a “deadbeat dad.” Like the absentee father, He has placed him here, abandoned, the product of a broken home and broken world, with few resources by which to find his way. Understanding a father-less Tupac Shakur and his syncretic quest for a Black Jesus begins with recognizing how much his life and character are enframed in his mother’s own story. The enframing starts when she is in prison and he is in her womb, life nurtured within life imprisoned. It continues with her renaming of her son: how that renaming links him historically (and tragically) to a number of syncretic, revolutionary movements. Indeed, this enframing still plays a role when Tupac’s misguided quest for Black Jesus dead ends in the figure of the Godfather.