Two clips released Friday (May 12) open a window into just how Zimbabwean-American actress Danai Gurira (“The Walking Dead”) portrays Afeni Shakur in “All Eyez on Me,” the forthcoming narrative feature film about her famous rapper son, Tupac.
Production company Codeblack Films published two short segments to YouTube that feature Gurira as the former Black Panther Party member and longtime activist at two stages in her son’s life. The first one above shows a pre-teen Pac (newcomer Cairo Moore) receiving a notebook for Christmas. “That will get you a lot further than a basketball,” Afeni tells her son.
The second video shows Afeni talking to adult Pac (newcomer Demetrius Shipp Jr.), who comforts her at a party. “I’m just taking it one day at a time, just trying to keep it all together,” she says, likely in reference to her recovery from substance abuse. “You always got it together,” affirms Pac. “I wouldn’t be the man I am without you.”
Directed by Benny Boom (“Next Day Air”), “All Eyez on Me” takes a long-term view of Afeni and her son’s relationship from his childhood to mid-1990s rap superstardom. Afeni founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation—which focuses on student arts training and education—shortly after Pac’s 1996 death in a drive-by shooting. She died of a suspected heart attack last year.
“All Eyez on Me” hits theaters on June 16—what would have been Pac’s 46th birthday.