Jasmine Guy is widely known as Whitley Gilbert on the game changing sitcom A Different World. However, there is way more greatness to her story than the bougie college student depicted for six seasons or 142 episodes on NBC.
While A Different World, pushed Jasmine Guy to a new level of stardom the book Evolution of a Revolutionary allowed her to shine in a whole new spotlight. Jasmine Guy constructed a relationship with Afeni Shakur through her son the late Tupac Shakur and over a series of interviews was able to piece together an illuminating book.
Evolution of a Revolutionary demonstrated the common idiom “life is a marathon not a sprint.” Afeni lived a life of activism, triumph, despair, resurgence, and ultimately redemption. Afeni mothered many. Her impact is global. Afeni’s story began in North Carolina, then north to New York where she contributed heavily to the Harlem community by being an instrumental leader in the Black Panther Party. Later, Afeni went westward eventually settling in the San Francisco Bay area and ultimately in Atlanta, Georgia.
Afeni and Jasmine’s relationship truly was one of mutual respect. Jasmine was relentless in her search for information and in her efforts to push Afeni to talk about sensitive subjects like drug abuse and complicated relationships.
As I read, I realized the most inspiring element of the story is the value Jasmine found in Afeni’s truths. Love comes in different shapes, sizes, colors, ages, you name it. Love is never the same. A reader can feel Jasmine’s love and respect for Afeni radiating off of the pages in the book. The nature of their relationship as expressed in the book cause me to think deeply about my priorities in my associations. One can have friends, one can spend time dating, one could also spend time with a person that they know will enrich their soul and provide them with insights to make better decisions for their life. Afeni appeared to do all of these things and more for Jasmine and I found value in the published results of their interactions.
May Afeni and Tupac Shakur forever rest peacefully knowing they both impacted the black community in their own ways and shifted the culture for generations to come. Thank you Jasmine Guy for this literary art.