Photographs of America’s Only Black Touring Rodeo by Gabriela Hasbun. Chronicle, $39.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-79720-889-3

Gabriela Hasbun. Chronicle, $39.99 (128p) ISBN 978-1-79720-889-3

Photographer Hasbun celebrates in her evocative debut “self-reliance, strength and determination [of] the cowboy” with moving images of the black riders of a historic rodeo. In the same spirit as the historian William Loren Katz The black west, Hasbun commemorates the historically overlooked but rich legacy of black American cowboys with photos she took of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, “the nation’s only touring African-American rodeo.” Readers are treated to rodeo pageantry at its finest: in one image, “glamorous” riders parade their horses at the BPIR in 2019, while a horse named Hercule dons a Louis Vuitton saddle. As Hasbun writes, “The Riders not only invent a new aesthetic, but they explore what it means to be a cowboy in contemporary America.” Equally captivating is the emotion and pride displayed, as in an image of a mother-daughter team beaming with joy while looking sideways, and another of a boy from a mentorship program for at-risk youth showing his rope skills. Reflecting on leading a Black Lives Matter protest in 2020, Brianna Noble argues that “no one can ignore a black woman on horseback.” Echoing this powerful sentiment, this work never ceases to demand attention. (Apr.)

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