The untold story of Mutulu Shakur, Tupac's stepfather: Where is he today?

The untold story of Mutulu Shakur, Tupac's stepfather: Where is he today?

The issue of racial discrimination has been a worrying topic for decades in the US and has been met with extreme uprisings from various activists. In that light, Mutulu Shakur is a renowned American activist and liberation icon from the 60s. He is also known globally as the stepfather of hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur.

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Mutulu Shakur
Mutulu Shakur in the Manhattan Correction Center at 150 Park Row. Photo: Jim Hughes/NY Daily News
Source: Getty Images

Mutulu Shakur is a former Black Liberation Army member. He is sentenced to sixty years imprisonment. To many, he is regarded as a freedom fighter and a revolutionary healer known for his work on acupuncture. The political prisoner has been in prison for over three decades.

Profile summary

Full nameMutulu Shakur
Date of birth8 August 1950
Age72 years old (as of 2022)
Zodiac signLeo
Place of birthBaltimore, Maryland, United States
Current residenceFMC Lexington
Height in feet5' 5"
Height in centimetres168
Weight in kilograms50
Weight in pounds110
Marital statusDivorced
Ex- partnersAfeni, Makini
ProfessionDoctor, politician, activist
Net worth$1.5 million

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Mutulu Shakur's background information

The liberationist was born Jeral Wayne Williams in Baltimore, Maryland, on 8 August 1950. However, this was a slave name, and he later changed it legally to Mutulu Shakur. He is 72 years old now.

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At seven, he moved to Jamaica, Queens, New York City, with his mother and younger sister. His mother was black and blind. From how his mother was treated, he was inspired to fight for the blacks. Is Tupac related to Assata Shakur? She is the aunt and godmother of Tupac. Her brother is Mutulu Shakur, and she is currently an asylum seeker in Cuba.


Mutulu Shakur started his political career at a young age. At 16, he was part of the New African Independence Movement. This made him a target of the illegal Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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As a teen, he joined the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) and later the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika. The organisation worked closely with the Black Panther Party members and New Left. These groups struggled for black self-determination and socialist change in America.

Apart from his political conquest, Mutulu started working with the Lincoln Detox program in 1970. The program helped drug addicts by using acupuncture against the FDA-approved drug Methadone. He was later certified and licensed to practice acupuncture in California in 1979.

He used his occupation to address rampant drug addiction among young black people. With this, he co-established the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America (BAAANA) and the Harlem Institution of Acupuncture. Mutulu was known for his work as a healer, and he addressed many medical communities. The People's Republic of China also invited him.

Is Mutulu Shakur still in jail?

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He is currently held in the federal prison hospital at FMC Lexington. So what happened to Tupac's stepfather? He was part of the Black Liberation Army. The group robbed $1.6 million from a Brink's armoured truck near Nyack, New York, on 20 October 1981. The attack killed a guard and two police officers.

Despite no evidence, the FBI alleged he was the mastermind and was on the run for six years. Mutulu was the 380th person to be added to the FBI's ten most wanted fugitives. He was arrested in Los Angeles in 1987 and convicted on 11th May 1988. Eventually, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison with the recommendation of no parole.

He was charged through the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) and accused of running BAAANA and several human rights violations. Mutulu Shakur was also convicted of aiding the escape of Tupac's godmother Assata Shakur from a New Jersey state prison. This was after she was sentenced to life for murder in 1973.

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Mutulu Shakur's release date

Mutulu's release through parole was in 2016, but it was declined. He received his ninth denial of parole in January 2021. His legal team has gone through different ways to release him but to no avail. Part of their efforts was the federal parole system, the Bureau of Prison's compassionate release process, the calculation of Shakur's good time in prison, and the presidential leniency.

Nonetheless, his mandatory release, which didn't work in February 2016, is scheduled for December 2024.

Is Mutulu Shakur alive?

Yes, the convicted felon is alive though he reportedly has six months to live. Due to his long prison stay, he was diagnosed with stage three myeloma in 2019, a terminal bone marrow cancer. He also has hypertension, type 2 diabetes, Glaucoma, and the aftereffects of a 2013 stroke keeping him in a wheelchair.

Mutulu was also affected by the coronavirus thrice and has displayed signs of confusion and memory loss. He filed for compassionate release in 2020, but the judge said his sickness was not life-threatening.

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However, protest has been on for his freedom, and almost 55,000 people signed a petition asking President Joe Biden and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to grant his release.

mutulu shakur's relationship with tupac
Shakur, Tupac's stepfather, is currently serving 60 years imprisonment. Photo: @ABlackCoalition and @BradThomsonNoP on Twitter (modified by author)
Source: UGC

What was Mutulu Shakur's relationship with Tupac?

He was the stepfather of Tupac Shakur. The political icon married Tupac's mother, Afeni Shakur, in 1975 after her marriage with her first husband dissolved. Her first husband was Lumumba Shakur, Mutulu's stepbrother.

Unfortunately, again, Mutulu's marriage with Tupac's mother ended in 1982 after she gave birth to Sekyiwa. He later married Makini in 1982, and they divorced in 2010. Besides Sekyiwa, he has four other children: Mopreme, Nzingha, Chinua, and Ayize.

Who was Tupac Shakur's father?

His biological father was Billy Garland, an active Black Panther Party member in the 1960s and early 1970s. But then, Mutulu and Tupac had a special bond and treated him as a son.

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Since his incarceration, he established an organisation called Dare 2 Struggle, which released a 10th-anniversary tribute album to Tupac titled A 2Pac Tribute: Dare 2 Struggle in 2016.

Mutulu Shakur and Tupac also wrote a book titled Thug Life Handbook, which passed an anti-drug and anti-violence message.

Mutulu Shakur is seen as a mentor to many blacks struggling for freedom in the United States. He has been in prison for years due to a crime he committed in 1981. But then, most of his agitators are hopeful that he will not end his life in prison.

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Besides being an academic and lawyer, he counsels the National Democratic Congress, making him one of the leading voices in Ghana's political terrain.

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