Afeni Shakur Davis, a former member of the Black Panther Party and Administrator of her son Tupac Shakur’s estate following his death in 1996, died in 2016. Her Lawyers believe that the management of Tupac’s estate will not be affected following her death as Afeni appointed Tom Whalley, as trustee of Tupac’s estate in 2013.
It has been reported that those close to the family have complete confidence in his ability and intentions to guide Tupac’s estate going forward as it is reported they believe Whalley is “Someone who actually had an authentic relationship with Tupac… Things seem more hopeful and positive than they have in the last 20 years.”
At the time of her death, Afeni was in the middle of divorce proceedings from husband Gust Davis who she married eight years after Tupac’s death.
The two never signed a prenuptial agreement, as the couple lived in North Carolina, and according to the laws of the state, what each side is entitled to is solely up to the presiding judge.
It was reported Davis requested alimony payments totalling about half of the money generated by the estate, in addition to other assets purchased by the couple.
However Afeni had set up a trust to control Tupac’s music rights, it has been reported that the trust is very specific about heirs, and the money is going to select charities and family. Her estranged husband, Gust Davis, is not mentioned in the trust — so Tupac’s money and music will not be part of the divorce settlement
In September 1996, Tupac Shakur one of the most influential hip-hop artists was shot multiple times and died from his injuries six days later, aged 25, without a Will.
Tupac’s record Label Death Row Records claimed that he was several million dollars in debt when he died even though he had produced, and reportedly sold more than $60 million worth of records in the last year of his life.
Tupac had barely anything to show for his chart-topping career. He had two cars, didn’t own his home and a little over $100,000 in the bank.
As an intestate under California law, Tupac didn’t have a spouse or children, therefore, his mother, Afeni and father, Billy Garland were entitled to share his estate. Billy was an intermittent presence in his life, the Court had to decide if he had done enough to support and spend time with his son.
Billy and Afeni had never married therefore he failed to meet the test under California law, (often referred to as the “deadbeat dad” law) in order to inherit as an heir of an intestate estate unwed fathers must prove they had a substantial relationship with their child and provided monetary support.
Billy appealed but reached a $900,000 settlement, in which he agreed to forgo all rights to use Tupac’s name or likeness, as the “dead-beat dad” law does not cover those rights.
In 1997 Tupac’s estate commenced lawsuits against Death Row, demanding, among other things, the return of more than 150 unreleased master recordings.
A 1998 settlement awarded the tapes to the estate, enabling the release of four posthumous albums. Afeni has managed Tupac’s estate establishing the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation that benefits from music sales & royalties and the licensing of Tupac’s image.
The performance at Coachella in 2012 by a “hologram” of Tupac occurred because Afeni allowed the use of his image and likeness giving him the honour of being the first deceased performer to appear on stage as a hologram.
In 2011 Tupac’s estate brought in 3.5million dollars is valued at $40 to $50 million and his albums sold more than 75 million copies worldwide.
In 2013, Afeni filed a lawsuit against a company called Entertainment One, claiming it breached a contract to pay Tupac’s estate royalties on “Beginnings: The Lost Tapes,” which was released in June 2007.
While Afeni claimed that Tupac’s estate was owed $1.1 million, it was noted that Entertainment One had purchased the rights to Tupac’s music from Death Row Records following its bankruptcy in 2006. As a result, Entertainment One also held unreleased master recordings made by Tupac, something that his mother wanted to be returned to his estate.
Early this month Entertainment One was ordered to pay a six-figure amount to the estate, and relinquish control of the unreleased master recordings
The history of recorded music is full of disputes between artists and their record companies however if Tupac had created a Will Afeni wouldn’t have needed to take Court action to establish that Billy was a “deadbeat dad” and was not entitled to a share of the estate. If you have started working it is a good time to make a Will as it will make a difficult time for your loved ones a little easier.