One father described feeling “surprised” and “excited” after discovering his son was being taught Tupac Shakur’s poetry in 7th grade.
Alex Preston took to Reddit to share a screenshot of the assignment his son’s middle school English teacher asked the students to read the Tupac poem The rose that grew out of concrete and analyze the metaphor behind the late rapper’s words.
One of the most popular and influential rappers of the 1990s, Tupac was fatally shot on September 7, 1996 in a drive-by attack in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was just 25 years old.
A prolific lyricist who recorded four studio albums in five years, Tupac remained a prominent part of the music scene thanks to the mountain of unreleased material he left behind.
Many of these lyrics appeared in the six albums released after his death, while an 83GB computer hard drive containing unreleased Tupac photos and music was auctioned off last year.
But while Tupac’s legacy lives on through his music, the rapper’s influence can be felt in other ways as well. For an English class at a school in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, it’s through his endeavors as a poet.
Tupac studied poetry at the Baltimore School for the Arts at a young age and later attended classes under the tutelage of writer and poet Leila Steinberg, who later acted as his manager and helped him land a recording contract.
The rose that grew out of concrete was one of several poems Tupac wrote as a 19-year-old. It was later published as part of a collection of the same name and serves as a metaphor for the human spirit and ability to overcome adversity in life.
said Preston news week He shared a picture of the homework as he felt it was “something my teenage self would never have predicted”.
“Tupac was everywhere when I was in high school, and while I was a huge fan, my parents/teachers/etc. not as enthusiastic about the example they thought he was setting,” he said. “Flash forward a quarter of a century and his lyrics are now being taught in schools.”
Preston said he and his wife are avid readers and have their young son, who is in the 7th grade Lord of the flies and 1984 during his summer break, but that caught him by surprise. “Tupac Shakur, who teaches my son metaphors, wasn’t on my short list of topics for 2022,” he admits.
That doesn’t mean he’s against the idea in any way, though. “I remember having English teachers who would stand out from Bob Dylan for their classes,” he said. “I would guess that my son’s English teacher is simply drawing from her own personal experience.”
Preston added, “Tupac passed more than a decade before my son was even born, so he only knows him as a ‘historical figure’ and doesn’t know his music at all; the wife and I were far more excited about this than he was.”
Still, he said he was surprised to see the assignment “given how slandered Tupac and rappers in general have been,” and especially because they live in Texas, a state he believes he’s “with of their public schooling is painfully conservative”.
The best surprise, however, came with the reaction to the post on Reddit.
One user, writing as Salamanderhead, commented, “This is cool. Tupac has a lot of great songs and lyrics.” Another user, Andyyougoonieee, said, “I did a school project on this poem in 1999, just a few years after his death. It’s a fantastic poem.”
The post got others like devbp thinking. “Ever since high school English I’ve wondered why there aren’t more modern and relevant works of art to be exhibited and analyzed,” they wrote. “Certainly 19th-century poetry is interesting and represents an accidental metaphor for nature or growth, but where is the art that represents and is a metaphor for today’s experiences?”
“I agree with what you say,” chicagotodetroit replied. “I had an English teacher who LOVED his job and every student loved his classes because they made them really interesting.
Preston said he was “surprised and delighted” by the response to the post.
“I think the broader culture has turned rap around a corner and is much more likely to see it as legitimate music, and I (along with many other Redditors) was grateful to see that represented in a middle school student’s homework,” he concluded .
https://www.newsweek.com/dad-discovers-son-being-taught-tupac-7th-grade-english-class-1769889 Father discovers son Tupac is being taught in 7th grade English class