Shakur Estate trustee Tom Whalley and Amaru Entertainment, the company created by Afeni Shakur to release her son’s posthumous projects, announced today that Nigel Sinclair’s White Horse Pictures and Jayson Jackson will team up to produce a fully authorized documentary with Amaru on the life of acclaimed hip-hop artist, writer and poet Tupac Shakur. The film will be directed by Academy Award-winning director, Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and produced by Jayson Jackson (What Happened, Miss Simone?) and White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair (The Beatles: Eight Days a Week The Touring Years) and Nicholas Ferrall, together with Shakur Estate Trustee Tom Whalley. Gloria Cox, Tupac Shakur’s aunt and Afeni Shakur’s only sister, will executive produce along with White Horse’s Jeanne Elfant Festa. Here’s what director Steve McQueen had to say in his statement.
“I am extremely moved and excited to be exploring the life and times of this legendary artist. I attended NYU film school in 1993 and can remember the unfolding hip-hop world and mine overlapping with Tupac’s through a mutual friend in a small way. Few, if any shined brighter than Tupac Shakur. I look forward to working closely with his family to tell the unvarnished story of this talented man.”
White Horse‘s Cassidy Hartmann will serve as co-executive producer. Marc Ambrose (The Beatles Eight Days a Week The Touring Years) will serve as supervising producer. The documentary will be produced with the full cooperation and the assistance of The Shakur Estate, and financed and distributed by Amaru Entertainment. White Horse Pictures is engaged as the worldwide sales agent on the documentary. Here’s what Tom Whalley had to say in his statement.
“Tupac’s timeless message resonates today as strongly as it did when I first discovered him in 1990, possibly more so. His legacy is unfortunately seen now through the refraction of the headlines, the controversy, and the tragic way his life ended. With this film, we will show the artist and the young man who existed beyond the news. I have an obligation to both Tupac and Afeni Shakur, to make sure this project becomes realized. In the final year of her life, Afeni and I spoke often of her desire to have her son’s true story be told. We are very excited to be working with the talents of Steve McQueen, Jayson Jackson and Nigel Sinclair. Together, with the team we have assembled, I am honored to have the opportunity to bring the documentary Tupac started in 1996 to life.”
Interscope Records, the label that released the majority of Tupac’s catalog, and Universal Music Publishing Group will provide help and full support to the production. Both companies are divisions of Universal Music Group. Here’s what Gloria Cox had to say in her statement.
“I am happy to see this project come to life. This was something that my nephew (Tupac) was very passionate about creating in 1996, and my sister (Afeni) since before her passing this last May. It has been a long journey to get here. I feel like we have a team she (Afeni) would be very pleased with. It has never been our intention to rewrite the story of Tupac. Our goal has always been to tell the true story, which has never been done before in such a complete way. My sister always said to me, ‘We are not in the business of defending Tupac. Our job is to allow him to be seen in the most complete way, so his actions, his choices, and his words will allow him to speak for himself.’ I believe this film will do exactly that.”
Though his recording career lasted just five years, Tupac Shakur is one of the most popular artists in history, having sold over 75 million records worldwide. Over half of his eleven studio albums have sold in excess of three million copies. Two of his releases, 1996’s All Eyez On Me and his Greatest Hits collection, have been certified Diamond, with sales of over 10 million copies each. In December 2016, it was announced that Tupac Shakur would be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the first solo hip-hop artist to be recognized for inclusion. The ceremony took place in Brooklyn, New York on April 7, 2017 and included a musical tribute from Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, T.I.. Alongside his musical career, Tupac also found success and critical acclaim as an actor, starring in films Juice, Poetic Justice, Above The Rim, Gridlock’d, and Gang Related. Here’s what Jayson Jackson and Nigel Sinclair said in their statement.
“We are proud and grateful to The Estate for inviting us to the team to help produce this film with the incredible Steve McQueen. We hope to make a film that explores all of Tupac’s talent and creativity, as well as his singular personality. We’ve got more than 2 decades of perspective now, and we hope to make a film that people can look back on in another 5 decades and understand his contribution to all of art, music, and culture. Most of all, we hope to bring to our audience, insight into his perspectives, and what it was like to be sitting inside his world and the world he grew up in.”
Tupac’s life and legacy continues to impact and influence culture today, from a groundbreaking performance via hologram at the 2012 Coachella Music and Arts Festival to a spoken word appearance on Kendrick Lamar’s critically acclaimed 2015 To Pimp A Butterfly. In addition, the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, established by his late mother Afeni, provides arts education to children through camps, workshops, scholarships, and other programs. Hopefully we’ll hear more about this Untitled Tupac Shakur Documentary soon.