Arguably the best hip-hop lyricist of all time, the late and legendary Tupac Shakur was born to Afeni Shakur and Billy Garland, who were both active members of the Black Panther Party in its prime. Afeni was charged with multiple felonies during the late ‘60s for allegedly conspiring to bomb public places in New York. All of the charges were later dropped.
The British dance and electronica artist M.I.A, who has been nominated for both Grammy and Academy awards, is the daughter of former activist Arul Pragasam. As one of the founding members of the Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS), Arul was actively involved in the Tamil independence movements in the 1970s.
Mario Van Peebles
One of Hollywood’s most prolific actors, Mario is the son of famed director Melvin Van Peebles, who is widely known for his blaxploitation film Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song. Melvin is not only a celebrated director, screenwriter and playwright but also continues to be involved in social and political activism.
Ziggy and Damian Marley
The oldest and youngest sons of legendary reggae, ska and rocksteady artist Bob Marley, Ziggy and Damian have also had very successful musical careers as marked by Grammy awards and sales. Bob was not only a once-in-a-lifetime singer, musician and songwriter but also a significant voice and activist.
A hip-hop icon who continues to keep the musical genre vibrant, fresh and relevant, Kanye is well known for being outspoken and for voicing what’s on his mind. Of course, much of this confidence comes from his mother, the late Dr. Donda West, as he has expressed. But Kanye’s father, Ray West, who was a former Black Panther and one of the first photojournalists for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, may have also played a part.
The hilarious Katt Williams, one of the funniest onstage comedians of recent times, is the son of a former Black Panther. It is surmised that his father’s beliefs and teachings may have influenced Katt to join the Nation of Islam during a certain juncture of his life.
Laila is the the famed boxer and daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Though many know her father as “the greatest” and “the people’s champion,” there are fewer individuals that are familiar with Muhammad Ali’s antiwar and social activism and his participation in civil rights demonstrations with Dr. King.
Shari, an actress and writer and widely known for her role on the 1980s television series Hotel, is the daughter of legendary singer Harry Belafonte. Harry has and continues to be an activist for civil and human rights and vocally challenges poor public policies.
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