To celebrate what would have been Tupac Shakur's 50th birthday, Jada Pinkett Smith has released a rare poem penned by the late rap legend.
On Tuesday, the actor posted a video on social media featuring a series of profound stanzas handwritten for her by Shakur. Smith and Shakur met while attending high school together at the Baltimore School for the Arts, where they forged a close friendship.
"Tupac Amaru Shakur would have been 50 midnight tonight!" Smith wrote Tuesday on Twitter. "As we prepare to celebrate his legacy … let's remember him for that which we loved most … his way with words. Here are a few you may have never heard before."
According to the "Red Table Talk" star, Shakur likely wrote the poem while serving time at the Rikers Island jail complex in New York City after he was convicted of sexual abuse in 1995, and before he was shot and killed at age 25 in 1996.
"Some say nothing gold can last forever/ And to believe this, I need no proof," Smith recites in the video. "I've witnessed all that was pure in me/ Be changed by the evil men can do/ The innocence possessed by children/ Once lived inside my soul/ But surviving years with criminal peers/ Has turned my warm heart to cold."
Smith said she believes the poem, "Lost Soulz," to be the "original concept" for his song "Lost Souls," from the soundtrack of 1997's "Gang Related," starring Shakur and Jim Belushi.
"I used to dream and fantasize/ But now I'm scared to sleep/ Petrified, not to live or die/ But to awaken and still be me," Smith continues.
"It is true that nothing gold can last/ We will all one day see death/ When the purest hearts are torn apart/ Lost souls are all that's left/ Down on my knees, I beg of God/ To save me from this fate/ Let me live to see what was gold in me before it's all too late."
In a 2018 episode of "Red Table Talk," Smith opened up to her daughter, Willow, and mother, Adrienne Banfield Norris, about her relationship with Shakur. Upon meeting at the Baltimore School for the Arts, Smith said she and the rapper shared an "instant connection" and became "pretty much inseparable."
"[Shakur] would have been 50 this year, and of course, I went down memory lane," Smith says in Tuesday's video. "Over the years, Pac wrote me many letters and many poems, and I don't think this one has ever been published, honestly ... I don't think he would have minded that I share this with you guys."
While speaking with her family on "Red Table Talk," Smith recalled the moment she learned of her longtime friend's death — during a trip to New York to see him — and the intense grief she experienced thereafter.
"A lot of people talk about my relationship with Pac and trying to figure that out," Smith mused during the episode.
"That was a huge loss in my life because he was one of those people that I expected to be here. My upset is more anger ... because I feel that he left me. And I know that's not true, and it's a very selfish way to think about it, but I really did believe that he was going to be here for the long run."
Read and listen to Smith's full birthday message for Shakur at www.instagram.com/p/CQJjmooHTjI/.
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