Jada Pinkett Smith on Tupac Amaru Shakur
"When I first met Pac, growing up in Baltimore, we were two fiery, passionate, ambitious young people. We both came out to California. He went to the left, I went to the right, slowly but surely. He tried to straddle, and he would go back and forth. Before he got locked up and went to jail, he called me. That whole experience in New York [Shakur was convicted of participating in the sexual abuse of a young woman in a New York City hotel room] spun him out. My whole argument to Pac was, "You know what? You don’t need to talk to me about what actually happened in that room, because I don’t want to know. But you know for a fact that if you were there, that should not have happened to that woman. Period. I don’t care what time she came up there, who was there, what was going on." And he completely agreed with that. He said, "I should have protected that sister." And he said, "This is it. I’m not thugging, I’m not carrying no guns, I’m not doing nothing." Then his album came out: Me Against the World. And he got locked up. bell, he got locked up, and you could see it in his eyes: Jail took something from him. I don’t know what happened in there. I know he had a lot of problems with the guards. I don’t know if it just broke his spirit or broke his pride. I don’t know what exactly it took, but he was never the same after that. And he made a decision: I’m not straddling the fence any more. I’m going there…………One thing Pac did not understand throughout his life: You have got to be responsible for your actions. And you will reap the consequences. Period. You know, Pac and I weren’t speaking when he died. I was okay with that, I really was, because that wasn’t the first time. Pac and I had a very volatile relationship all throughout. It was a trip because we’d never been romantic, to have all this passion."
Source: Essence Magazine (1998)