Many know about Afeni Shakur, Tupac Shakur’s mother and former Black Panther activist. However, few know about his father, William ‘Billy’ Garland. Both his mum and dad were members of the Oakland-based Pan-African political party, and this is where they met. However, in an interview with the Art Of Dialogue podcast, Garland explained how Allen Hughes hid from him the existence of a documentary when he was asked to answer some questions.
Entitled, Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur, the Hulu documentary explored the relationship between 2pac and his mother and sought to set the record straight concerning his father.
However, Garland claims Hughes was very covert in his approach to the interview’s purpose, disclosing, “Allen Hughes asked me to do an interview. He didn’t tell me it was about ‘Dear Mama.’ He didn’t tell me too much about anything except that it was about Tupac.”
The lyricist’s father explained how he was “slightly disappointed” that the interview was about the lyrics and meanings of the track ‘Dear Mama’ as opposed to the life of his late son.’ Garland believes he was blindsided and was treated poorly. The artist’s father unveiled that when he watched it, he was outraged by how the film made him look like he was disrespecting Afeni Shakur.
‘Dear Mama’ is an extremely personal song for Garland as 2pac refers to him as a “coward” in the track, rapping, “No love from my daddy, ’cause the coward wasn’t there / He passed away, and I didn’t cry, ’cause my anger / Wouldn’t let me feel for a stranger.” Garland admitted, “At first, I was upset because I’m trying to see you. But then it hit me: For one, I ain’t dead, and so you really didn’t know me.”
Shakur’s dad quickly realised someone had lied to his son and told him he was dead. However, the two got reacquainted in 1994. However, only two years later the Death Row emcee was shot in Las Vegas. You can watch Billy Garland address the Dear Mama: The Saga of Afeni and Tupac Shakur documentary in the video below.