Kentucky Apologizes for Denying Tupac Shakur Unemployment Benefits
A man sharing a name with the rap icon was thought to be a prankster
Published Apr 28, 2020Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has apologized to a resident of the state named Tupac Shakur after the man's coronavirus unemployment benefits application was thought to be a prank submission in the iconic rapper's name.
As the Lexington Herald-Leader points out, Beshear called out "bad apples" who had filed for unemployment under fake names during a press briefing yesterday (April 27), specifically making mention of a submission using Shakur's birth name.
"We had somebody apply for unemployment for Tupac Shakur here in Kentucky," Beshear said. "And that person may have thought they were being funny, they probably did. Except for the fact that because of them, we had to go through so many other claims."
As it turns out, Tupac Malik Shakur is a resident of Lexington, who had been working as a cook ahead of restaurants closing in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Shakur, who goes by Malik, told the paper that he legally changed his name around 1998 after converting to Islam. He chose the last name as it means "thankful to God" in Arabic.
Shakur told the paper he applied for unemployment benefits on March 13 and received a monetary determination letter on March 17. The Herald-Leader reports he has been waiting to receive his benefits ever since, not thinking his name had led to questions of legitimacy.
"I've been struggling for like the last month trying to figure out how to pay the bills," Shakur told the paper.
Shakur said he was "hurt...really embarrassed and...shocked" at Beshear's comments. The Herald-Leader writes they provided the governor's office with Shakur's contact information Monday night and that the state is now working to resolve his claim.
Beshear personally called Shakur this morning to apologize for the comments and confusion.
"I understand, he's dealing with a lot," Shakur told the paper. "Mistakes happen."