The New Black West

 

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As long as there have been cowboys, there have been Black cowboys.

One of the most enduring symbols of the American West, the cowboy evokes self-reliance, strength, and determination—qualities found at the Black rodeos held each year in cities across the United States.

Through the lens of Bay Area photographer Gabriela Hasbun, The New Black West documents the exhilarating atmosphere of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR)—the only touring Black rodeo in the country—and the showstopping style and skill of the Black cowboys and cowgirls who attend the event in Oakland year after year. Whether portraying the spectacle of the arena or the quiet moments before the competition, Hasbun’s photographs capture an intimacy and camaraderie unique to the cowboy way of life. Quotes and stories from the performers and attendees accompany the images along with a foreword by Jeff Douvel, the regional manager of the Oakland rodeo. An artist’s statement by Hasbun delves into the history and mission of the BPIR. What emerges from these pages is a vital perspective on on of the United States’ oldest cultural traditions and a nuanced portrait of a community that continues to shape the American West.