Do you know anyone who might be overly obsessed with a particular band or artist? Do they routinely make a point to share that artist’s lyrics with friends, family, and co-workers, with a line always locked and loaded for any situation? Do they follow said artist around on tour all summer? If they do, they may be in danger of becoming the next Jerry Foxhoven, who was recently ousted from his job as a Director at Iowa’s Department of Human Services, with many speculating it was due to his overly-shared love of late rapper Tupac Shakur.
According to a report shared by the Associated Press, the former Duke University law professor who spent the last two years with Iowa’s social services agency routinely shared lyrics and inspirational quotes of the late rap superstar with his coworkers via company email and special events. Foxhoven would host “Tupac Fridays,” where he played Shakur’s music in his office, and celebrated his own 65th birthday by sharing Pac-themed cookies decorated with the words “Thug Life,” in reference to Tupac’s well-known motto (and tattoos).
After Foxhoven was asked by Gov. Kim Reynolds to step down from his role at the Department of Human Services last month, the agency released 350 pages of email correspondence from Foxhoven during his tenure which contained the words “Tupac” or “2Pac.” The emails ranged in subject matter from marking the anniversary of Shakur’s death to using Skakur’s lyrics to symbolize love on Valentine’s Day. They even feature Foxhoven attempting to use his love for the rapper to improve the overall culture in the workplace as he quoted lyrics, “It’s time for us as a people to start makin’ some changes” from Shakur’s “Changes”.
Foxhoven was essentially canned the first day back to work after he sent an email to everyone at the agency on June 14th encouraging them to mark Shakur’s birthday over the weekend by listening to one of his songs. The email conveyed the oft-quoted Tupac parable, “Pay no mind to those who talk behind your back, it simply means that you are 2 steps ahead.”
A state government official has since commented on Foxhoven’s dismissal, stating, “As the governor has said, a lot of factors contributed to the resignation of Jerry Foxhoven and now Gov. Reynolds is looking forward to taking DHS in a new direction.”
Not all of Foxhoven’s colleagues were opposed to his proclivity for using Tupac lyrics for camaraderie and inspiration. One of his former co-workers sent an encouraging response to one of his emails, saying, “I love your 2pac messages … and the fact that you still send them (despite the haters) makes me appreciate them even more.”
Although Iowa law requires state agencies must release the “documented reasons and rationale” when employees resign instead of being terminated, the governor’s office has refused to elaborate on the non-Tupac factors which led to him being forced to resign.
For his part, Foxhoven isn’t convinced that his Tupac oversharing was the reason he was asked to step down. “I think it’s a coincidence,” he told the New York Times.
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