John Singleton knows a thing or two about modern African American cinema, having directed classics such as Boyz n the Hood and Higher Learning, not to mention other notables like Shaft and Rosewood. His production credits are equally impressive. So when he says he is not happy with the current biopic of late-Hip Hop star Tupac Shakur, it’s worth paying attention.
Singleton has apparently left the production, citing differences in creative opinion. In a lengthy post on Instagram he laid out the situation and it does not sound good:
“Real talk! The reason I am not making this picture is because the people involved aren’t really respectful of the legacy of Tupac Amaru Shakur. I won’t say much if you want you can read my articles in Hollywood Reporter on authenticity in Black Storytelling … To Pac’s real fans just know I am still planning a movie on Tupac … It doesn’t matter what they do mines will be better… Tupac was much more than a hip hop artist … He was a black man guided by his passions … Of most importance was his love of black people and culture … Something the people involved in this movie know nothing about… Real talk! How you gonna make a movie about a man when you suing his mother to get the rights to tell his story?! They have no true love 4 Pac so this movie will not be made with love! And that’s why my ass isn’t involved ! If Tupac knew what was going on he’d ride on all these fools and take it to the streets… But I won’t do that … I’ll just make my own project. What Yall think about that?!!”
So not only does Singleton feel that Morgan Creek, the production company, is not planning to do Tupac’s legacy justice, but apparently the studio is suing Tupac’s mother over rights issues! Because of this lack of respect, according to Singleton, he’s not involved any more. And he writes that he plans to make his own Tupac biopic.
But all that may not be as clear cut as it seems: the studio did sue Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, over a dispute over who chooses the director. A settlement was reached, with her positioned as an Executive Producer on the project. Whether Singleton is referring to that case or a new one is not clear.
It’s also not Singleton’s first divorce from the project – he left it previously in 2012 before returning last year. This is a serious passion project for the director, who counted Tupac as a friend. Tupac starred in Singleton’s second film, Poetic Justice, and the pair had planned to do more work together before Shakur’s fatal shooting.
Last Updated: April 14, 2015