Fans of the late hip hop artist Tupac Shakur are no strangers to hearing the name "Set" play out on most of his records, but not many are aware of the real identity of the rapper's half-sister, who chose to maintain a low profile.
Sekyiwa Shakur, who is fondly called "Set" by close family and friends, is the half-sister of the legendary rap artist and "Thug Life" promoter, Tupac Shakur.
Rap artist Tupac Shakur | Photo: Getty Images
Tupac and his sister grew up together in a loving relationship that promoted the strong family bond between them.
Unlike her brother, Set chose a life away from the spotlights, and have keyed into the peace and quiet of such a decision until recent times. She granted an interview with AllHipHop and let out a lot about herself.
MEET SEKYIWA SHAKUR
Not much is known about Sekyiwa Shakur's biography as a result of her low-key lifestyle. Tupac's sister was born on October 3, 1975, two years after the rapper.
She shares the same mother as Tupac, Afeni Shakur, while her dad was Tupac's stepfather, Mutulu Shakur.
Sekyiwa Shakur attends the 6th Annual New York Peace Week Forgiveness Dinner on January 17, 2016 in New York City | Photo: GettyImages
Together, the siblings grew up in Harlem, New York, raised by their mother, Afeni. In addition to Pac, she also has three more half-siblings, Mopreme, Nzingha, and Chinua Shakur, who were born to her dad and are stepsiblings to the iconic late rapper.
When Sekyiwa was 5 years old, her father helped her aunt, Assata Shakur—a former member of the Black Panther—to escape from prison, as she revealed in a 2006 conversation with Tanisha Blakely, for the now-defunct media AOL Black Voices.
Although Assata managed to escape and found asylum in Cuba, Mutulu was eventually apprehended and is still in jail.
Sekyiwa and her siblings grew up in poverty and hiding from the FBI, which had a rippling effect on her mental health. “I’m bipolar. I battle with depression and suicide on a daily,” she revealed.
IN HER BROTHER’S SHADOW
Sekyiwa described her childhood as being always in the shadow of her brother, even before he became famous. Their mother used to pay more attention to him—even when she was on drugs—and never really took care of Sekyiwa.
But instead of holding grudges, Sekyiwa decided to accept that whatever happened before she turned 18 and set on to find her own path, was not her fault. As she claimed:
“Somebody should have been taking care of me, instead of me taking care of myself. I deserve to allow myself to believe in that, so I don’t have to beat myself for it.”
Set Shakur during Relaunch of Allhiphop.com Hosted by Jermaine Dupree at The New Space in New York City | Photo: Getty Images
Eventually, Sekyiwa decided to put a distance between herself and her family, moving out of Atlanta to a mostly white neighborhood in California where she felt both like an intruder and a refugee.
But being away put things in perspective for her, and when she returned to Atlanta years later, she had a strong sense of self. She wasn’t Afeni’s daughter or Tupac’s sister, she was her own person.
SEKYIWA'S FAMOUS BROTHER
Tupac was born in 1971, to parents, Afeni and Billy Garland. Born initially as Lesane Parish Crooks, his mom renamed him Tupac Amaru II, at age one, in honor of an 18th-century Peruvian revolutionary.
True to his name, the legend lived his short 25 years on earth as an active revolutionary. Just like most of his family members who were members of the revolutionary group, Black Panther, the rap legend also did his bit of activism.
Tupac made a stance majorly through his songs, as well as his "Thug Life" campaign, which was directed towards bringing an end to violence. At twenty-five, he sustained four gunshot wounds and died six days later at the hospital.
SEKYIWA SHAKUR’S HUSBAND & CHILDREN
During her last years as a teenager, the 44-year-old conceived and bore her first child, Malik, and later on, gave birth to her daughter, Nzingha, from her relationship with EDI, from Tupac's '90s group, The Outlawz.
Although Sekyiwa and EDI co-parented their kids, the two got separated years ago. Sekyiwa got married in 2003 to Gregory Jackson, and the two have no kids between them, although he helped raise Malik and Nzingha.
Sekyiwa also has a son named Cameron, her youngest, although it is not clear who is the father. The boy recently graduated from high school, as she revealed on Instagram.
Despite having children early on, Sekyiwa made sure to pursue an education and, after graduating high school, she went on to enroll at the Clark Atlanta University.
The 44-year-old kept her life private and spent most of it hiding her last name to prevent any linkage. To explain her low profile, she once revealed:
"I kind of like my privacy. Because, as seen with my brother, his real name was his stage name, he couldn't escape into a private world. I didn't want my identity out there."
RELATIONSHIP WIT RAY LUV
Aside from her relationship with EDI and Gregory Jackson, Sekyiwa Shakur has been linked to rapper Ray Luv, in a relationship that first hit the media in 2016.
Sekyiwa and Ray have known each other since childhood, as the American Bay Area rapper was Tupac's friend and former member of "Strictly dope." It was revealed that the rapper once shared a love message to the TASF president on Facebook, where he acknowledged her to be the love of his life.
The celebrity sister has her clothing line, Madamevelli, which she launched shortly after her famous brother's demise.
She is also the president of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, which was founded by Afeni Shakur in 1997, and has been overseen by the 44-year-old since her mom's death in 2016.
Some of the programs the foundation manages are focused on youth and creative arts, support to families affected by incarceration, and most importantly, mental health and wellness.
Last year, Sekyiwa oversaw an event celebrating the foundation at The Laundry room in San Francisco, and opened about the future of the foundation and when she hopes to offer the community in the future.
“We are looking to change the way young people, especially people of our community see themselves,” Sekyiwa explained in an interview.
The idea is to help young and not so young people that haven’t been able to process their traumas to learn more about themselves. All while knowing that they have a team of responsible adults willing to help them heal.
FAMILY & SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITY
Tupac's half-sister has an impressive online presence, with Set Shakur as her social media identity. Sekyiwa Shakur's Instagram boasts of almost twelve thousand followers and a profile that tags her the president/CEO of TASF. An avenue to identify with her late brother's legacy.
Among Sekyiwa four other siblings, aside from Tupac, the most famous is Mopreme Shakur, who goes by the stage name, Komani, and featured in most of the legendary rapper's records as a member of the Outlawz.
Also, Komani co-founded the group, "Thug Life," alongside his late stepbrother. Today, he is famous for being a film producer, writer, and composer.
Sekyiwa’s son Malik is now an actor in the making, and already has appeared in two projects, according to his IMDB.
Recently, Sekyiwa made headlines and left fans worried when it was reported she had collapsed after giving a heartfelt speech.
Sekyiwa and some members of her family appeared at a rally in California amid the protests that erupted after Georgey Floyd's death. There, she delivered a heartfelt speech where she said:
"We are worthy. We are not disposable. Each one of you is just as precious as George Floyd, as Tupac Shakur."
Soon after, Sekyiwa had to be carried away in a friend's arms, leaving supporters worried about her health. However, she later took to Instagram to say she's fine, blaming her momentaneous episode to "wicked trauma."
The Shakurs are one great family, and luckily they have a committed sister, who is bold and courageous enough to uphold the family's legacy and be on the front lines of their revolutionary journey, without the media influence.