Prince Shakur

Prince Shakur is a queer, Jamaican-American freelance journalist, cultural essayist, and grassroots organizer with a BA in Creative Writing from Ohio University. His words have been featured in Teen Vogue, Catapult, Level, Electric Lit, and more. In addition, Shakur is the proud writer in residence at Sangam House, Twelve Arts, The Studios of Key West, and La Maison Baldwin.


  • A story that combines so much—sociocultural criticism, religion, and politics while centering on the microcosm of one Jamaican family and the aftermath of two male relatives’ untimely deaths. . . . Commands a tension and doesn’t release you well after the last sentence.

    —Morgan Jerkins, New York Times bestselling author of This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America

  • When They Tell You To Be Good is a swirl of indelible images, language and action that adds up to a daring coming-of-age memoir unbound by chronological time. Here, Prince Shakur insists on the irreducability of history, family, masculinity, race, identity, and geography. He refuses to allow manufactured borders between political, personal, and spiritual storytelling. This beautiful, antic, and deeply felt book makes the claim that love is not an emotion as much as it is a large and mysterious storm, encompassing deep pain and unbearable gulfs yet always reaching for attachment and understanding. I love the anarchic confidence with which Shakur claims visionary thinkers and writers right alongside the people in his neighborhood, his family, friends and comrades as his intellectual and emotional companions, establishing intimate, playful, heartbreaking and powerful connections across all boundaries. I know we will be hearing much more from this irrepressible new literary voice.

    —madeline ffitch