Tupac Shakur

1996 MTV Video Music Awards

Shakur in 1996, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Lesane Parish Crooks

Date of Birth: June 16, 1971

Place of Birth: East Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Death: September 13, 1996

Place of Death: Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American [including, possibly, Tuareg]

Tupac Shakur was an American rapper, songwriter, and actor.

He was the son of African-American parents, William Garland and Afeni Shakur (born Alice Faye Williams). He was born Lesane Parish Crooks. He adopted his surname, “Shakur”, from his stepfather, black nationalist Mutulu Shakur (who was born Jeral Wayne Williams). His mother gave him the name Tupac Amaru after the Peruvian revolutionary Túpac Amaru II. His parents were Black Panther members. His mother was also a businessperson, philanthropist, political activist. His stepbrother is rapper Mopreme Shakur.

His father is said to have Tuareg heritage, an African ethnic group. It is not clear if this ancestry has been verified/documented.

A video with Tupac’s father can be seen here.

Tupac’s paternal grandmother was Eloise Marie Barnes (the daughter of Walter Barnes and Carnell Phoenix/Williams). Eloise was born in Florida. A picture of Tupac’s paternal grandparents can be seen here.

Tupac’s maternal grandfather was named Walter Williams, Jr. (the son of The Rev. Walter Williams and Lena).

Tupac’s maternal grandmother was Rosa Belle McLellan (the daughter of Kennie McLellan and Rosa Lee Powers). Tupac’s grandmother Rosa was born in North Carolina. Kennie was the son of Peter McLellan. Tupac’s great-grandmother Rosa’s father was Robert Powers, who was the son of a slave named Jeffrey Powers. Rosa’s mother was Millie Ann Wooten.

Sources: Genealogies of Tupac Shakur (focusing on his mother’s side) – http://www.wargs.com

Tupac’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Robert Powers, on the 1870 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Tupac’s maternal great-great-great-grandfather, Jeffrey/Jeff Powers, on the 1850 U.S. Slave Schedule – https://familysearch.org


Curious about ethnicity

127 Responses

  1. Thenabster says:

    Maybe he had a bit of Native in him too

  2. ashash says:

    His paternal grandmother was Eloise Marie Barnes. She is pictured here:


  3. ashash says:

    Here’s his father Billy Garland. He looks just like him:


  4. Manila says:

    His African-American ethnicity includes Tuareg.

    Rosa Belle’s maiden surname is McLellan, and was the daughter of Kennie McLellan and Rosa Lee Powers. Kennie was the son of Peter McLellan. Rosa was the daughter of Robert Powers and Millie Ann Wooten.

    REMARK: Take note that Robert Powers was black. Here’s his 1870 U.S. Census: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MW8B-F31
    Robert’s own father, Jeffrey Powers, was also black. On his slave master Matthew Powers’ 1850 slave schedule, he was aged 22 and black rather than mulatto: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-673S-4V9

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