In a new interview with YouTube channel The Art of Dialogue, Lemika Early recalls meeting Tupac Shakur after her idol Janet Jackson was unable to grant a wish.
After being shot five times, signing with Death Row records and involved in one Hip Hop’s biggest beefs with Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur’s well being was one that needed protection and not an easy task.
Taking on that difficult task was Frank Alexander, Lemika Early’s uncle. Shakur and Alexander build a close bond that is clearly seen in various rare footages that has leaked over the years. One video in particular has Shakur in studio cracking jokes on Frank Alexander or “Big Frank” as Shakur at times referred to him as.
One year before becoming Tupac’s bodyguard, Frank’s niece, Lemika Early, was left paralyzed from the waist down. She would be confined to a wheelchair after being involved in a terrible car accident with two of her friends.
While Lemika was in hospital she learned about the Make-A-Wish Foundation and got the chance to make a wish. She was a big Janet Jackson fan, her biggest dream would of been to meet her idol.
June of 1996, the Foundation arranged for Lemika and her entire family to go to Los Angeles for a four night stay in Disneyland. They would also arrange for a half hour meeting with Janet Jackson. Before this was arranged, Lemika had never ventured outside of Chicago. After finding out about the trip, the whole family went out and spent a lot of money on clothes and other items for the trip. They were very excited and it was all they could talk about in the weeks leading up to the trip.
At the very last minute, the Foundation called and said that Janet Jackson wanted to change the plans. Stating that the meeting would now take place in New York instead.
“The representative said well she’s going up there [New York] cause she’s gonna go get her favorite piece of candy. It was something real petty,” Lemika explained. “I was like, ‘You gotta be kidding me’. We gotta alter our whole trip and go to New York over some food.”
Lemika was crushed. She had to choose between going to Los Angeles and Disneyland or flying to New York and spending as little as fifteen minutes with Janet Jackson. She decided it wasn’t worth going to New York, she wanted to go to Disneyland.
Tupac Grants Wish For Lemika Early
At that time Frank was working with Tupac on the set of Gridlock’d. The next day Frank and Pac’ were in the trailer talking about the situation. After hearing what Frank’s niece had been through and became aware of Janet Jackson’s last minute change of plans, Tupac’s exact words were “I hate that sh-t! What can I do?” Frank didn’t ask Pac’ to help out because he knew he had a lot of work in his schedule.
Frank didn’t ask Pac’ to help out because he knew he had a lot of work in his schedule. Tupac was ready to help out and take on more. Frank suggested to just call his niece, Pac’ said make the call! Frank called the house but his sister, Beverly, picked up and explained that Lemika wasn’t home from school just yet. Asking if he would call back then. Exactly twenty minutes passed and Tupac was on the phone with Lemika!
Before the phone call, Lemika was having a tough time because of everything that had happened. Getting a phone call from Tupac made her day as she was crying with joy.
After getting off the phone with Lemika, Tupac asked Frank what size clothes she wore as he wanted to send her some gifts. When the family flew into California, Tupac invited them to the set of Gridlock’d where they spent most of the day and then invited to Shakur’s house for a barbecue.
“He was very humble and down to earth, Lemika tells The Art of Dialogue. “Everything that I got from that man, from Tupac, I got till this day. And that shows what type of person I am, because if this about money, I had the Estate reach out to me. All types of people reach out to me, ‘Oh you got this. You got that’, and I never sold none of this stuff.”
Lemika Early In Studio With Tupac Shakur
The next day, June 10th 1996, they was all invited down to the studio where Tupac was due to be recording that day. In fact, the song ‘Untouchable’ was recorded that day. In the studio they met the Outlawz, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt and Danny Boy. Tupac told them to order whatever food and drink they all wanted and to take as many pictures as they wanted!
Once the studio session was over Tupac hugged Lemika tightly and told her to stay strong. He told her he was going to donate a stereo system to her school. He also told her that he wanted to put her in his next video.
Tupac and Lemika spent the next three days together, dedicating his time to her. What she experienced resulted in a strong liking to Tupac, as Lemika would then tore down her Janet Jackson posters at home, replacing them with Tupac’s posters.
Frank Alexander Got Tupac’s Back
Frank Alexander hadn’t expected such attention and devotion as shown by Tupac. Speaking of her three days with Tupac, Lemika said, “Television only shows the bad side of him. That’s not the Tupac I met. I got to know him as a person, and he was a beautiful person. I have one final wish to talk to him in heaven right now. I’d tell him I love him and that I want to thank him for all the kindness he showed me and my family.”
In 1998 Frank Alexander released his book “Got Your Back” which spoke about the public perception and who Tupac was when meeting him in person. “After they left to go back to Chicago, I realized if everyone on this planet had a chance to spend a few days with Tupac and see that side of him. The public perception would have radically changed. Tupac was complicated, but he was essentially a good person. Now it’s too late.”
Sadly, Frank Alexander passed away in 2013 at the age of 54 years-old. Frank suffered a gunshot wound to the head in his California home.