The Origin Of Rook’s #TupacSelfie

Snap Decision: Tracing the roots of Rook’s #TupacSelfie craze.
It’s de rigueur to Instagram your food, but at Rook—the Fletcher Place purveyor of Asian street food–inspired cuisine—everyone must snap a photo with Tupac Shakur. More specifically, everyone must head to the women’s bathroom to get a #tupacselfie with a poster of the hip-hop icon. No, really. It’s a thing. Search the hashtag, and you will find dozens of pictures of not only women, but kids and groups posing in front of the rapper who died after a 1996 drive-by shooting. Rook co-owner Ed Rudisell says the owners decided to tone down the high-end vibe of the restaurant’s second location by hanging framed posters from some of their favorite artists of hip-hop’s golden era, including Biggie Smalls, Wu-Tang Clan, and NWA. Rudisell’s wife, Sasatorn Rudisell, suggested Tupac for the ladies’ room due to his sex appeal. (It’s a famous photo—the one where he’s wearing his trademark bandana and giving the camera a dreamy side eye.) Rook has taken to re-Gramming the shots. “We said, ‘Let’s roll with it,’” Rudisell explains. So, who started the #tupacselfie trend? “I feel very proud to be ground zero on that,” says Carmen McGee, the sommelier co-owner of The Golden in Fort Wayne. McGee struck a pose with Tupac during opening weekend and either started a tradition or was merely the first to tap into a zeitgeist of the Indy dining scene. “It seemed like the thing to do,” McGee adds. “I felt like that’s why they put it there.”