McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Breond Herrera-Durr


Major and Classification

American Studies and Ethnicity; Sociology; Religion

Faculty Mentor

    Lanita Jacobs, Ph.D.


    American Studies and Ethnicity

McNair Project

Thug Life: Inter-Communalizing the Outer City and the Pursuit of Self Determination

In this inter-disciplinary piece I argue that by reading Tupac's Thug Life through the framework of the person/sub-person binary of the racial contract and the Black Panther Party's theory of inter-communalism that we can begin to trace Tupac's own interpretation of the Thug Life ethos. Tupac's Thug Life recognizes the impositions of the racial contract, specifically the forcible inclusion of non-white persons into the category of subpersons, and the globalization of this discourse of invisibility. Further, I highlight Tupac's resistance to these impositions through his efforts to socially empower and politically mobilize Black Americans, as well as connect American racial discourses to the global community of subpersons. By re-casting Thug Life through this paradigm, Tupac serves as the Ghetto's saint, striving to educate and build solidarity on what Eldridge Cleaver once called the University of the Streets.