News

Danai Gurira Will Play Tupac Shakur’s Mom In The 'All Eyez On Me' Biopic

Danai Gurira has been cast as Afeni Shakur, the real-life mother of Tupac Shakur, in the forthcoming 'All Eyez On Me' biopic.

Danai Gurira as Adenike in Andrew Dosunmu's Mother of George


It wasn’t enough that Danai Gurira starred in one of last year's biggest sensations on TV. Eclipsed, the Liberian civil war drama she penned in 2009, debuted at New York’s Public Theater with Lupita Nyong’o in the lead. But if 2015 was good for the Zimbabwean-American actress, 2016 is shaping up to be the year the Mother of George star completely takes over.

Eclipsed officially heads to Broadway next month, and Gurira’s already got another play slated for a New York debut in February. Familiar, which tells the story of a Zimbabwean family in Minnesota, will begin its off-Broadway run at Playwrights Horizons with performances set to begin February 12 and opening night on March 3.

And now, Deadline reports Gurira, 37, has been cast as Afeni Shakur, the real-life mother of Tupac Shakur, in the forthcoming biopic, All Eyez On Me. The movie, which Afeni Shakur, 68, is an executive producer on, stars newcomer Demetrius Shipp, Jr. as the late rapper. Shooting has begun in Atlanta with hip-hop music video director Benny Boom at the helm. According to Deadline:

“A political activist and member of the Black Panthers, Afeni raised her son to be a voracious reader with a political awareness that informed his development as a street poet. The film covers Tupac’s rise to stardom as a hip-hop artist and actor, as well as his imprisonment and prolific, controversial stint at Death Row Records, where he was steeped in the East Coast/West Coast rap war.”

Update 4:20pm EST, January 12: Variety reports Kat Graham will portray Jada Pinkett Smith in All Eyez on Me. Smith, who was high school classmates with Shakur at the Baltimore School for the Arts, recently reflected on their longtime friendship in an interview with Howard Stern.

Update: 6:25pm EST, January 15: Our friends at Shadow & Act have pointed out that the film's star, Demetrius Shipp Jr., has been sharing photos and clips from the set of All Eyez On Me via his Twitter page. Today he posted one of him and his co-star, Danai Gurira.

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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