Twenty years ago today, Tupac Shakur was in Clinton Correctional Facility in New York state, serving a sentence for sexual assault. Clinton was the home of some pivotal career and life moments for Shakur. It’s where he was when Me Against the World was released, the first time an artist had a No. 1 album while serving a prison sentence. It’s where he discovered Machiavelli, leading to his albums under the Makaveli moniker. It’s also where he married Keisha Morris, his wife of 10 months.
What does the wooing process look like for one of the most successful, infamous, legendary rappers of all-time? A lot like it does for the rest of us. Let Morris describe the pair’s first date.
First of all I was a nervous wreck. He wanted me to meet him at his hotel and I was like “Oh no!” Me me in broad daylight with a lot of people around. I was very hesitant, but I went anyway. We went to the Chelsea Movie Theater to see Forrest Gump and then we ate dinner around the corner in an Italian restaurant.
Wait, let’s pause right there.
Forrest Gump is a great movie, granted. I just wouldn’t have expected Shakur — this Tupac Shakur, the “Thug Life” tattoo Tupac Shakur — to see a tender tale of love and life in the rural south set against the backdrop of the changing cultural dynamics of the 50s and 60s. It just took me back a little bit, that’s all. You were saying, Keisha?
He wanted to see Forest Gump because he read for the part of “Bubba.” I was in total shock, I couldn’t believe who I was on a date with.
OK, let’s pause again. Actually, let’s just stop the tape altogether.
Tupac, as Bubba?! That character became such a phenomenon in the wake of the film’s success (even spawning a chain of gimmicky restaurants playing off Bubba’s expertise with shrimp), such a cultural touchstone, that it’s hard to imagine anyone but Mykelti Williamson playing the part. Tupac was a great actor who already had roles in Juice, Poetic Justice and Above the Rim by the time Forrest Gump was released, and yet it’s hard to envision exactly what he would have looked like as Bubba.
Let’s try anyway.
Nope, too weird.