“Tupac Amaru Shakur would have been 50 midnight tonight! As we prepare to celebrate his legacy … let’s remember him for that which we loved most … his way with words,” wrote Pinkett Smith.
“Here are a few you may have never heard before Happy ‘you goin’n to be 50 at midnight’ Birthday Pac! I got next.”
In the Instagram video Pinkett Smith shows viewers the poem, titled “Lost Soulz,” written on lined paper. She says she doesn’t think it has ever been published, before reading it aloud.
Janet Jackson also posted a photo with Shakur on her Instagram to mark what would have been the rapper’s 50th birthday, with a heart emoji in the caption. The pair co-starred in the 1993 film “Poetic Justice.”
Shakur was just 25 when he was gunned down on a Las Vegas street and succumbed to his injuries days later. The rapper released his first studio album “2Pacalypse Now” in November 1991, but just five years later, on September 13, 1996, he was dead.
Twenty years after his death, there continues to be a fascination with Shakur. With his artistry cut short, some wonder if the rapper was on the verge of reaching his full potential just as he was killed — writing about #BlackLivesMatter decades before its time.
Since 1997, Pinkett Smith has been married to actor Will Smith, who has admitted that he was jealous of her relationship with Shakur.
Smith said Pinkett Smith and Shakur grew up together and, while their relationship was never sexual, “they had come into the age where now that was a possibility and Jada was with me.”
“Pac had a little thing with that, but she just loved him,” Smith said. “He was the image of perfection, but she was with the Fresh Prince.”
Smith said despite being in the same room together several times, neither he nor his fellow rapper could bring themselves to speak to each other.
CNN’s Lisa Respers France contributed to this report.