A video effect showing the late Tupac Shakur performing on stage that was used at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival unnerved some fans, but Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur, reportedly gave her blessing to the virtual reincarnation.
Afeni was not in attendance for the April 15 performance, but a representative for the activist told TMZ she was pleased with the results. According to TMZ, Tupac’s mother was “absolutely positively thrilled.” The rep also reportedly said that rapper Dr. Dre asked Afeni for approval to incorporate her son’s likeness into the performance beforehand, and that she agreed. Says TMZ, “As a thank you, we’re told Dre made a donation to (Tupac Shakur’s) charity.”
The Wall Street Journal is reportingthat the Tupac image may go on a concert tour and that a source told the publication representatives for Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg plan to discuss logistics for a potential stadium concert series where the Tupac image could interact with other acts.
“This is just the beginning,” Ed Ulbrich, Chief Creative Officer for Digital Domain, which produced the virtual Tupac, told the newspaper. “Dre has a massive vision for this.”
He added, “This is not found footage. This is not archival footage. This is an illusion.”
Not everyone was thrilled about seeing the image of the musician, who was murdered in 1996 when he was just 25.
Billboard editor Jason Lipshutz writes, “There exists a token of beauty in letting Pac’s music speak for itself, and not grafting a false image onto his classic sounds simply because we missed (seeing) Tupac perform when he was alive and want to see him now.”
Afeni Shakur recently approved the use of her son’s work for an upcoming Broadway musical, “Holler If Ya Hear Me,” a project nine years in the making. The homage will not be autobiographical, but inspired by the rapper’s music. The show is reportedly planning to begin casting this spring.
Director Kenny Leon told PBS, “I’ve been talking about that with Tupac’s mother, Afeni, and so we’ve become fans of each other and she sort of entrusted me with her son’s music. … It’s going to be very exciting.”