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

124 Responses

  1. ethnic says:

    saw the movie. worth a watch.

    • follers says:

      In the movie, Ted Field states that he is Jewish.

      Kidada Jones never says she’s Jewish.

      What’s wrong with this picture? Ted Field? Really? Why not J. Paul Getty?

  2. andrew says:

    Tuareg mostly live in Sahara desert, not in Sub-Saharan Africa

    • fuzzybear44 says:


      The Tuareg are also in so called sub- Sahara. Also the boundaries you see today weren’t around back in those days, they were European made , Nothing stop the Tuareg from going into that area. During the slave trade days, Everybody was fair game to be taken, including the Tuareg(which many were)

      • andrew says:

        Yes, but Tuaregs are ethnically/culturally North Africans (Berbers). Also Sahara desert is bigger now than in the past, and it’s growing more and more. When I was at university at history department I read a French essay about slavery. It told how slavery alwais existed in West Africa, way before the arrival of Europeans. Many of the slaves taken to New World were kidnapped during tribal wars between local clans, then sold to Europeans. I will look for the title of the book if you’re interested.

        • fuzzybear44 says:

          We’ll say that they are ethnically mixed-blooded, but yes culturally North Africa( however they are also living in places like Ghana and Nigeria)

          Quote( When I was at university at history department I read a French essay about slavery. It told how slavery alwais existed in West Africa, way before the arrival of Europeans)

          Yes slavery was around before the Europeans came, however it was a little different than the Euro version that came later, and it was not always there. Also For instance, one version let a slave go home, and come back day after day until he paid of his debt. Granted there were Arabs like ( Sonni Ali) who was nicknamed the bloody for a reason.

          The French are fun, testing atomic bombs on the Tuareg. However yes wars between clans was one of the ways Tuareg ended up in slavery. On there way to sell others, they themselves were attacked and sold(funny isn’t it)

          As for the book, thank you but not necessary. I’m the Afrocentric remember, I have all kinds of stuff about African history

  3. memphis says:

    Tupac in the photo posted looks more Fulani than Tuareg.

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