What’s with all the haters on All Eyes on Me?
Imagine walking around knowing that you’re the person responsible for the death of Tupac Shakur – that you either killed him yourself or sent someone to end his life. That was all I could think about as I walked out of the theater on Thursday after watching the prescreening, which ended with a sentence stating, “The murder of Tupac Shakur still remains unsolved.”
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the movie writer Eddie Gonzalez and Dominic Santana, who plays Suge Knight, the infamous founder and CEO or Death Row Records.
In the midst of what has seemed to be a mix of emotions and various negative reviews on the movie – most which I have read – and after speaking to both Gonzalez and Santana, I continue to stand by the fact that these actors and writers, directors, producers and all involved did what they set out to do with this movie at the best of their ability: they explained in a 2-and-a-half-hour film what the life of the legendary Tupac Shakur was like.
Personally, I think the only mistake was not making it a series, where the man’s many talents could have been highlighted, better-explained, and there could have been more depth in his relationships, personal life, jail time, poetry-writing and education, activism, social work, criminal history, and I could go on. This was a man who – as Eddie Gonzalez said during the interview – “lived the life of six people in a span of 25 years.”
As the young, musically uneducated person that I am, who grew up on salsa, pop and very little urban tunes, hip-hop, and rap, and though I listen to it now, I still find myself not knowing many stories and the history of these urban genres and the immensity of some of the people behind them. I find great pleasure in watching these stories, these movies, these biopics, because they paint a picture in a way that is easy for me to understand who someone like Tupac Shakur was; not who he TRULY, ULTIMATELY, DEEPLY was, because –again- it’s a two-hour film, but I did understand and now appreciate him on a much deeper level. I also view urban and black culture differently, and the unbelievable stories and depth of content that went into the stories that were told in songs produced by these young rappers.
I think the critics are being too negative, and went in with the objective to see what they could tear apart, leaving aside the fact that there is too much amazing content about this man to distribute in depth within a short span of time, and regardless, it was clearly understood who he was, what he did, and who and what was important to him.
His mother. MY GOD, his mother – Afeni Shakur, and the impact that she had in his life was clearly seen. We didn’t get to detail it, and the movie left us wanting more of her, but we now correlate how the views she instilled in him accompanied him throughout life and his decision-making, the reality of how he composed and the fact that he didn’t always say what he meant to say in the sometimes controversial lyrics that he wrote.
This movie wasn’t created to depict Tupac Shakur and his life detail-by-detail. It was meant to educate, bring awareness and to inspire others – especially younger potential influencers of the world – to look beyond their cultural, economic and life circumstances, just as Shakur did.
The most fascinating part about the movie, which I discussed with Dominic Santana, was the fact that the antagonist wasn’t his character, Suge Knight, it wasn’t Biggie Smalls or any other rumored source of conlifct with the rapper…the atagonist was the system, and that is powerful.
I cried three times. I felt the film, and I got to know a little bit about Tupac and the reason why so many people still hold his name in the highest of standards, sing his songs and title him – possibly – one of the best rappers of all time.
I still think there is a need for a series, though.