Spelman Student Michaela Glover is conducting primary research at the Atlanta University Center’s Robert Woodruff Library that makes a fresh contribution to the scholarship on Tupac Shakur. Without giving too much away, here’s how Michaela generously responded to a few questions about her research:
1. What research are you currently conducting? I am interested in the love/hate relationship that Tupac appears to have with black women. Following this interest, I am interested in the way that the obvious female desire conveyed to him through fan mail reads in light of songs like, “Dear Mama,” “Keep Ya Head Up”, “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, and “Same Song,” the Digital Underground joint he was featured on. It would be an egregious oversight if I didn’t consider the significance of the Ayanna Jackson sexual assault case as context in light of my interests so the letters he received while in prison are fascinating. Presently, I am researching how the intense female desire directed towards Tupac when he was alive has informed the fan mail and sympathy cards directed to Afeni Shakur since Pac’s death.
2. What has been the most surprising thing about the experience of performing research? The most surprising thing about the experience with the fan mail is the very powerful emotions that radiate through the letters and cards. I was surprised by how vulgar the letters could get from teenagers! Some of them wanted Tupac sexually while at the same time they wanted him to be their father and so to fill the void left by their own.