Afeni Shakur has been lauded by the hip hop community for giving birth to the legendary figure, but not much is talked about his blood father.
Speaking with Art Of Dialogue, platinum songwriter and friend of Tupac, Delray Richardson, gives insight into the man that gave birth to Tupac Shakur. Richardson states that he speaks with Garland regularly and for the first time ever, he is allowed to publicly relay discussions he had with Billy Garland.
Tupac apparently was told by his mother that a man nicknamed “Leggs” aka Kenneth Saunders was his father. Richardson shares a letter that Tupac wrote to Saunders.
THE LETTER CHAPTER 1: THE GANGSTA & THE PANTHER
My father’s life is a mystery to me, but I will share what little information I do have with you. His given name is Kenneth Saunders. He had a daughter from his first marriage before my mom and he was a well-known gangsta in the streets of Harlem, New York, but not as Kenneth Saunders.
In the streets he was known as “Leggs” because of his tall stature and his large physical build. I also know he was an addicted freebaser and a natural sweet talking conman. I know this from a personal experience.
Besides that, that is all I know about my father. It’s a shame all I have is a half a page on the history of the man who helped bring me into this world. I can say he was good to me for the six months I spent with him.
But in the words of the classic song, “Papa was a Rolling Stone, where ever he laid his hat was his home, and when he died all he left me was ALONE.
Delray Richardson was moved when he saw the letter at the Tupac Museum “Wake Me When I’m Free” in Los Angeles. He was able to read the letter to viewers, but he also showed the birth certificate of Tupac. He stated there were two versions.
One with his name Tupac Amaru Shakur and the other Lesane Parrish Crooks which was Tupac’s given birth name. The birth certificate lacked the name of Kenneth Saunders aka “Leggs” and also didn’t have Tupac’s real father Billy Garland.
Richardson and Shakur shared the commonality of having surnames of men that were not their father. He had a personal relationship with Tupac and the two would have conversations that were more private.
Richardson revealed that he sent the letter to Garland to read and it broke his heart that Afeni had lied to his son in regards to who his real father was. Richardson also stated that Garland told him that he had been at the hospital after Tupac got shot. That he was in Las Vegas when his son was on life support.
Richardson said, “The craziest part of all of this, is that when Tupac died, that she put on the death certificate that Tupac’s father was actually dead.” He says the reason he is bringing this out in the public is that the black community has a lot of these scenarios.
It hit Richardson’s heart that Tupac thought he saw his father doing drugs, but not knowing that “Leggs” was not his real father. The context of that scenario is expounded in the music of Tupac Shakur with songs like “Dear Mama” that illustrate his mother’s addiction as well.
Richardson does tell viewers that Billy Garland did try to reach out to Tupac, but he was given roadblocks by Afeni Shakur. He never states why that was the case and admits to not being privy to that information.
Check out the interview below to hear more of this tragic story.