Tupac Shakur was, during his lifetime, a visionary. A man fastened to fast-forwarding progress as both goal and God-assignment: his actions inspired by activist necessity, life experiences, the arts, cultural events, world history, and any competition positioned to impose on his aforementioned goals. This is a diverse collage of incidents; some dope, others despicable. Shakur embodied it all. As Hip Hop creatives go, ‘Pac was without peer. From music and movies to magazine covers and media coverage, he was portrayed as a menacing messiah. In truth he was an emotional revolutionary indefatigably fighting for the right to feel. Volatile, gentile, powerful, thoughtful. Heaven sent misunderstood as hell bound, every scent seemed to somehow remind us of roses grown in a concrete Garden of Eden surrounded by hip-hop heads and heathens.
Shakur walked through several societal fires on a journey to the people’s pond with the intent of returning with enough pride-water to put out the political flames surrounding the sincere, and thus, saving souls from the shame of being enslaved by trade or sinful in solitude. Visionaries, they do things like that – see it before it’s there, hope it until it happens, predict it plentiful prior to its planting, release it when it isn’t yet free enough to become. The latest in an extensive line of 2Pac’s many visceral inventions has been unveiled in collaboration with art community embraced brand VLONE at Nas’ Sweet Chick restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side.
Written by Tone Swep
Images by Bryan Bedder & The Estate of Tupac Shakur
The limited-edition Tupac by VLONE collection is sold exclusively at the Powamekka Café. A conversion from the location’s standard Sweet Chick theme to capture a three-day Tupac inspired original restaurant concept. Researching and referencing three handwritten pages from a Shakur notebook, thoughts collected by the poet and songwriter more than 20 years ago, illustrate and explain how the artist envisioned his café to be “a passionate paradise 4 people with power 2 play and parlay.” With men’s and women’s restrooms labeled “Playaz” and “Divaz”, and an extensive menu featuring “down home southern creole food from generations of recipes and traditions.” In all, ‘Pac planned for his restaurant to be a place of solace and retreat for the well-meaning and pure spirited, the millions drawn to his music and films, interviews, poetry, and public appearances. His life. Shakur felt that Powamekka Café would be “The perfect hideout 4 those who wish 2 escape the worldz cold reality.” Yes, this would be a place for one to “Eat in Heaven.” Tom Whalley, trustee of The Estate of Tupac Shakur, had this to share: “Tupac’s creative vision was limitless. He was constantly working on ideas and plans that reached far beyond music and film. One of the things he was extremely passionate about was opening a restaurant. He even sketched out plans and a concept for a menu. We are proud to bring Tupac’s Powamekka Café to life.”
The 18-piece Tupac by VLONE collection features wear options ranging from hats and tees to bathrobes, with prices tagged from $100-$300. The Tupac inspired apparel was designed by VLONE creative director A$AP Bari, who truly crafted a timeless masterpiece with this brilliant capsule collection. Shop and cop the Tupac by VLONE collection Here. Launch event attendees included Nas, Destiny Jones, Yara Shahidi, A$AP Bari, Dave East, Dev Hynes, and many others.
Founded in 2011 by A$AP Bari, VLONE is a celebrity celebrated lifestyle brand and apparel line applauded by such lux-line luminaries as Kanye West, Playboi Carti, Drake, The Weeknd, and designer Virgil Abloh. VLONE has enjoyed brand expansion and sales success by immersing itself in such art consumer engagement events as Art Basel Miami and Hong Kong, SXSW, NBA All Star Weekend and New York Fashion Week. The brand has collaborated with Off White, Colette, and Fragment and is most known for their recent Nike Air Force 1 shoe which debuted during ComplexCon. Rapper and model A$AP Rocky elaborates on what serves to define the VLONE line: “VLONE is just a lifestyle: live alone, die alone,” Rocky begins. “People these days are just adapting to that lifestyle, whether you feel ostracized from society for whatever reason; your own internal reasons. A lot of people adapt to the lifestyle and manifest that lifestyle into a clothing line,” he continues, adding. “It’s just how we live everyday amongst each other.” Make a reservation at Tupac Shakur’s Powamekka Café Here. You are invited to the vision.
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