Raise your millennial hands if you knew that the icon, Madonna, and the late icon, Tupac, were an actual factual item!?
Just me? OK, blame it on the high school Tupac-everything phase that actually never ended.
So yes, people. Tupac and Madonna dated during the '90s and yes he broke up with her and then wrote her a prison letter apologizing for the way things went down.
In a 1994 letter recently obtained by TMZ, Tupac allegedly shared several reasons why he ended their year-long relationship, which included their racial differences, his concerns about both of their images, her sex symbol status, and previous comments she made about dating rappers.
The rapper, who was shot and killed in Las Vegas in 1996, allegedly wrote in his letter,
For you to be seen with a black man wouldn't in any way jeopardize your career – if anything it would make you seem that much more open and exciting.
But for me, at least in my previous perception, I felt due to my 'image,' I would be letting down half of the people who made me what I thought I was. I never meant to hurt you.
Tupac also allegedly wrote about a comment he claimed to have heard her make in an interview, about dating rappers and basketball players to "rehabilitate" them, though this interview cannot be verified.
Those words cut me deep seeing as how I had never known you to be with any rappers besides myself. It was at this moment out of hurt and natural instinct to strike back and defend my hurt and ego that I said a lot of things.
Elite Daily reached out to Madonna for comment on this letter, but has not heard back at the time of publication.
If you get over the handwritten letter part, the drama here could so look like a relationship from 2017, when race is still a huge topic to contend with, and power dynamics often carry so much weight, they can make or break relationships.
Race matters in relationships, even when we don't want it to.
Interracial dating as a person of color can be a tough task. There are often worries about whether or not you're being fetishized, as in, used to fulfill a person's ulterior motives for dating someone from your race instead of being dated because they really just want to be with you.
When Tupac mentioned his "image," it's easy to think of his position as a pioneer of "gangsta rap," but there was so much more to it than that. Tupac Shakur was the son of Black Panthers and was an advocate for pro-blackness and anti-racism himself.
As Tupac pointed out in his letter, white people are often revered as "open" and "exciting" for dating a person of color, while Tupac and other people of color who date white people are often seen as sellouts.
He addressed the pressure he felt in his letter, of not wanting to look like a sellout to the other people in your race who love you.
Rachel Lindsay, Season 13's Bachelorette, shared similar feelings when she talked about how tough it is to be the first black Bachelorette on a recent episode of the show. On top of Lindsay selecting her "future husband" in front of the world on television, she also has to deal with people speculating about which race she will choose. Guys in the Bachelorette house have even begun to question her interest in black men, since many of them have already been sent home.
Though Lindsay has shared valid reasons for rejecting the guys she has so far, she made it clear that she is aware of eyes that are watching who she gives her final rose to a little closer than other Bachelorettes.
While I can't speak for Tupac, it seems that dating a white woman was heavily weighted, and apparently something he was not willing to keep up.
For Madonna, if she truly loved and cared about Tupac, him leaving her because she was white was probably deeply hurtful, if that is what happened.
Still, as a white person — good intentions or not — part of acknowledging your privilege is accepting that not all black people want to deal with sharing such an intimate relationship with a white person, who has had a much different and often easier experience
Unfortunately for people on the receiving end of the hurt like Madonna, some black people may not find that out until they are actually in that interracial relationship and experiencing it.
Then there was Madonna's "sex symbol" status.
Tupac further explained where his mind was when he broke it off with Madonna, allegedly writing in the letter,
Please understand my previous position as that of a young man with limited experience with an extremely famous sex symbol.
His statements don't lend toward him being intimidated, but instead, an overwhelming experience as a young man in his 20s, who is dealing with his own fame and that of another older partner and fellow celebrity.
Tupac spent his short-lived career as a rap star, who spoke out against the racial and economic injustices in America. Madonna was indeed a sex symbol and pop star with way more experience being in the Hollywood spotlight. Madonna was also 12 years older than Tupac.
It's understandable that the racial issues, paired with the power of her stardom and maturity, pushed Tupac into another direction — especially considering the possibility of potentially being just another token of Madonna's sex symbol status.
Notice that at the end of his letter, Tupac apologizes for saying certain things and for Madonna being hurt about the way things ended. He also admits to being young and just not knowing what to do about everything.
Still, he doesn't apologize to Madonna for breaking up with her, but instead, offers his friendship to her and asks to have a full in-person conversation. Sigh. That's the post-breakup act so many women unfortunately have to be lucky to get in the age of ghosting.
Beyond that, this letter shows the racial and power dynamics that relationships have to overcome. Race still matters in romance. Some can deal with it and some have to bow out gracefully.
Hopefully, Madonna writes a memoir one day about her year with Tupac so we can get all of the juicy deets and read what she felt about this alleged letter and his reasons for ending things.