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Tupac Shakur and Jada Pinkett Smith

Source: Kevin.Mazur/INACTIVE / Getty

Yesterday, on the eve of what would have been Tupac’s 50th birthday, Jada Pinkett Smith decided to share a poem from the late rapper and her dear friend.

She stated that she decided to share this because she wanted those who were planning on celebrating his legacy to “remember him for that which we loved most…his way with words. Here are a few you may have never heard before.”

And then in well-wishes for the rapper she wrote, “Happy ‘You goin’n to be 5- at midnight’ Birthday Pac! [crying laughing emoji] I got next. [crying laughing emoji].”

I thought it was a beautiful gesture. Not only was the poem brilliant and thought-provoking like so many of Tupac’s words, I thought it was very generous of Jada to share this with the world. After all, many of us never would have heard this poem had she not decided to read it to us and post it on her Instagram. For as much as Tupac gave to the world, we didn’t know him, Jada did. And it was very kind of her to offer this bit of information to the people.

Sadly, it’s not being received with the intent in which she shared it.

Today, on what would be Tupac’s birthday, Jada’s name is trending on Twitter. As people, once again, are using the connection Tupac and Jada shared as an indication of what’s going on in Will and Jada’s marriage.

People are sharing opinions like this one:


There are other comments about how Tupac was the “real love” of her life, not her husband, Will Smith. I’m sure people are engaging in a little humor, trying to collect likes and retweets; still, I find it all very frustrating.

Jada has said on numerous occasions that they were not romantically involved with one another because they knew it would have never worked. Instead, they served as a support system for one another as they were trying to navigate their way out of Baltimore, with mothers who were struggling with addiction and into the entertainment industry.

But when Jada mentions the name of her friend, who just so happened to be an iconic figure in our culture, people take it as disrespect to her husband.

All of it just goes to show that for as much as we bash Steve Harvey for his archaic ideals about friendships between men and women, we don’t really understand them either.

We swear that all male-female relationships can’t be platonic and then pretend as if a person must have all their needs met through their spouse and all the friendships and relationships that have molded you into the person you are today mean nothing because you married someone else.

Will consistently speaks about the role various friends have played in his life. And if Jazzy Jeff, God forbid, were to die suddenly and tragically, no one would shun him from speaking about his friend 25 years later. But because Tupac was a man and Jada is a woman, it’s a problem.

I often see that men, through their words and their actions, don’t place value on women unless it is in relation to a man. Can she satisfy me sexually? Is she good wife material? Can she be the mother of my children? As my romantic partner will she boost my ego in private and bolster my reputation in public?

So much of the value men place on women centers around their ability to serve—and there are far too many men who aren’t willing and able to return the favor.

Women, Jada included, live full lives before they get married. And for the life of me, I can’t understand why women are the only partners required to sacrifice that part of themselves in a marriage.

Jada and Pac were friends. She should be allowed to celebrate their connection without folks immediately connecting it to Will.

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