Tupac Shakur’s Mother Listed His Name As Something Different on His Birth Certificate Due to Legal Issues

Tupac Shakur wasn’t one to go by a moniker in his professional life, instead, he took great pride in his name. The Poetic Justice star was named after a revolutionary, something his mother was intentional about. Ironically, she listed a different name on his birth certificate before changing it shortly after he was born. 

Tupac Shakur in photo in 1994 - the rapper's name was legally changed within the first year of his life
Tupac Shakur 1994 | Bob Berg/Getty Images

Tupac Shakur’s mother changed his name within a year

The rapper’s mother Afeni originally named the Juice star Lesane Parish Crooks. When he was one, she legally had his name changed to Tupac Amaru Shakur. His name means “shining serpent” in Inca. 

Source: YouTube

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An avid reader, Afeni later revealed that she was inspired to change her son’s name after something with a powerful meaning. According to a profile piece on The Track Record, the first known Tupac Amaru was the last indigenous monarch of Inca. The second known person to carry the name was José Gabriel Condorcanqui, also known as Tupac Amaru II. Condorcanqui was an 18th-century Peruvian revolutionary of indigenous blood who led the largest indigenous uprising in Spanish American colonial history. 

“I wanted him to have the name of revolutionary, indigenous people in the world,” Afeni once said about her son. “I wanted him to know he was part of a world culture and not just from a neighborhood.”

Afeni Shakur’s other reason for the name change was due to her being under surveillance by the FBI

As it turns out, Afeni never planned on naming Tupac his original name on his birth certificate, Lesane. The rapper was born amid Afeni being cleared of major charges. She was arrested at her apartment on charges of conspiracy in April 1968. Along with other members of the Black Panther Party, Afeni was charged with planning bombings throughout New York.

Source: YouTube

While out of bail, Afeni became pregnant. She was eventually arrested again and faced a 300-year sentence. Representing herself, she successfully fought her case and was acquitted in May 1971. Tupac was born a month after Afeni’s release on June 16, 1971.  

She listed Tupac’s name as Lesane out of fear and for added protection from the FBI. Once she felt safe enough, she legally changed his name and a new birth certificate was reissued to Afeni. Unfortunately, her troubles were far from over. The revelation was made at the current pop-up museum exhibit of Tupac’s life.

After being fired from her job due to being under constant attack from the law, she moved to Baltimore, Maryland with Tupac and her daughter. From there, the family moved to Marin City, California. Afeni struggled with drug addiction for a period of time but achieved sobriety and remained a constant figure in Tupac’s life.

Tupac pays homage to his mother and lives up to his name

No matter the difficult times he witnessed his mother suffer, Tupac adored Afeni. He rapped about her in his 1995 single, “Dear Mama” and doesn’t shy away from speaking about their past troubled relationship. 

Tupac’s name change would prove to be the right choice for Afeni. As expected, he lived up to being the revolutionary his mother foreshadowed through his art and activism. He died of gunshot wounds in 1996.

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