By any measure, author, educator, entrepreneur and social activist, Yusef Bunchy Shakur’s life is an epic story of transformation, redemption and hope. Born to teenage parents, raised by an alcoholic mother and nurtured by the streets, Shakur co-founded the notorious Detroit “Zone 8” street gang. At age 19, he was sentenced to 5 to 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. During his nine-year imprisonment he met his father for the first time. The relationship with his father became the driving force of Shakur’s metamorphosis from a thug to a redeemed human and community leader.
In the fourteen years since being released from prison, Shakur has emerged as a respected activist, community organizer and entrepreneur focused on “Restoring the Neighbor Back to the Hood.” In 2009, he opened the Urban Network, which operated as a bookstore and community center providing literacy classes, digital training and a platform for local and national speakers and authors
In 2008, Shakur self-published the critically acclaimed memoir, “The Window 2 My Soul,” and the accompanying curriculum guide in 2010. Shakur has answers for the disengaged and disenfranchised and shares his message of hope, redemption, transformation and triumph at conferences, community gatherings, churches, and top colleges and universities. His work has been used in universities throughout the country including the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Merritt College. Since 2010 Shakur has published, “My Soul Looks Back,” the sequel to his first memoir; “Scribes of Redemption” a collection of letters and lessons from his father and in 2014, “Redemptive Soul: The Yusef Bunchy Shakur Reader.”
A prolific and inspirational speaker, Shakur has presented at Harvard University, Chicago Ideas Week and was featured in the production: Broken Mirrors: Bullies and Bystanders. For his work, the Knight Foundation honored him with a 2012 Black Male Engagement Leadership Award and a $10,000 grant. In 2012, he was named a Best Community Leader finalist in Steve Harvey’s Hoodie Awards. His life story of transformation and redemption is featured in the documentary, “Detroit’s Native Son.” His message and story has been shared on numerous television and radio shows, including International and National Public Radio, BBC, Huffington Post, CBS Detroit, the Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, the Michigan Citizen, The Michigan Chronicle, and Black America Web. He resides in Detroit, where he is busy raising his own sons and running his company YBS Consulting, LLC. Visit him at www.yusefshakur.org