Thursday, May 26, 2005

"Resurrected homie, we glad ya back..."

(no, i don't think they will learn to shoot people.)

(they may figure out who should be shot though.)

(and then make cool songs/movies/books/plays/paintings about it.)

(and... other stuff.)


(the bottom line is that a decent creative outlet will do ya good.)

(especially if you were planning on doing bad.)


"True, lasting and peaceful revolution can only be achieved through artistic means; any other social structure eventually becomes too hierarchical, dogmatic and didactic."
- Black Krishna


"Art helps realize truth in meaning."
- Black Krishna


"The end of education is character."
- Sri Sathya Sai Baba


Tupac Shakur's Mother to Open Arts Center

Associated Press Writer
Wed May 25, 6:34 PM ET

ATLANTA - Afeni Shakur was in a cocaine haze in 1990 when she heard that her son's rap career was taking off.

"I was in the heyday of using," she says. "Someone told me that Tupac was on 'The Arsenio Hall Show,' and I thought they were lying."

That's when Afeni realized cocaine was ruining her life. She had lost track of her son — a tough feat considering that all eyes were about to be on Tupac.

Afeni kicked her habit, and by the time Tupac was killed in 1996 at the height of his fame, they had rekindled their relationship. Now Afeni's life is consumed with keeping Tupac's legacy alive — and her latest effort is the June 11 grand opening of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts.

The $4 million project is focused on helping at-risk youth. It revolves around a six-acre campus in the Atlanta suburb of Stone Mountain that includes an art gallery, rehearsal area, offices, gift shop and a "peace garden." There are plans to add a museum, community meeting space and classrooms. A bronze statue of Tupac will be unveiled in one of the peace garden's fountains in September.

According to Afeni's attorney, Dina LaPolt, who co-produced the Oscar-nominated documentary "Tupac: Resurrection," about 80 percent of the center's cost came from the foundation Afeni set up to receive proceeds from her various Tupac albums, movies, DVDs and other projects.

The idea for the center came from a sad chapter of Afeni's history. As she bounced from New York City to Baltimore to California, falling deeper into drugs and the Black Panther movement, she enrolled young Tupac in several arts schools and programs, where he honed the natural musical and acting gifts that would make him a hip-hop icon.

"Arts can save children, no matter what's going on in their homes," Afeni, 58, told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "I wasn't available to do the right things for my son. If not for the arts, my child would've been lost."

The foundation has already hosted youth arts camps, focusing mostly on poetry and theater, in the Atlanta area, where some of Afeni's family lives. This is the first year the campers will have a permanent site.

Celina Nixon, who coordinates the camps, used to attend them as a teenager. The 22-year-old said she had a lot of things going against her in high school — namely that she had a daughter at 15.

Because attending the camp taught her to overcome setbacks, she learned to be mature and view the world through a new perspective — that of a teenage mother — rather than seeing her plight as a millstone.

"We had to write a letter to ourselves about where we wanted to be," Nixon said of her camp days. "I wanted to be able to make a difference in young girls' lives and with the youth, period."

The camp is for 12- to 18-year-olds, so when Nixon graduated from high school she was no longer allowed to attend, but Afeni offered her an internship with the foundation.

Nixon basically taught herself management techniques, and her background in drama and chorus lent itself to helping run the foundation. Afeni said she hopes the camps will continue to churn out these kind of success stories.

"I learned that I can't save the world, but I can help a child at a time," Afeni said, adding that it was all made possible by her son. "God created a miracle with his spirit. I'm all right with that."

Conspiracies abound about Tupac's unsolved shooting, but they're all a waste of time to Afeni.

"We decided to deal with the living. This is justice for me," she said. "I need to do what God has put in front of me to do, and it ain't trying to figure out who killed Tupac."


On the Net:

Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation:

Tupac Shakur:



BONUS: The Charter of Children's Rights and Freedoms...

Charter Schools Outperform Public Schools

Associated Press Writer
Wed May 25,10:06 AM ET

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California's charter schools are 33 percent more likely to meet their academic goals than traditional public schools, a study released Wednesday found.

Classroom-based charter middle schools stood out in particular, with 81 percent meeting the state-set goals for student improvement, compared with 54 percent of traditional schools, according to EdSource, a Palo Alto-based nonpartisan organization that studies public education.

Researchers looked at demographically similar students who were at the same academic starting point, using scores from California's high school exit exam and the Academic Performance Index, which includes results from several standardized tests.

The study didn't examine what caused the difference.

Caprice Young, CEO of the California Charter Schools Association, said the findings illustrated that charter schools — especially those serving high school students — "get kids who are far below grade level, and we bring them up faster than noncharter schools."

No differences were seen between new charter schools and those that had been operating for a while, senior policy analyst Brian Edwards said. There also was little difference between schools that were converted from traditional public schools and those that were started from scratch.

California's charter school law, approved in 1992, allows for public schools that are free from many state regulations, in hopes that greater flexibility will bring academic gain.

There are now about 510 charter schools enrolling more than 180,000 students, less than 3 percent of California's 6.3 million public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade.


On the Net: