Featuring stunning full-color photographs by Gabriela Hasbun,The New Black Westcelebrates the modern Black cowboys of the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo and the community that comes together to witness their achievements year after year.
A powerful symbol of self-reliance, strength, and determination, the Black cowboy is a figure commonly overlooked in the histories of the American West. Held annually in cities across the United States, the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo (BPIR) honors the historic accomplishments of Black cowboys and fosters a vibrant community dedicated to continuing that legacy. Bay Area photographer Gabriela Hasbun has spent more than a decade photographing this beloved event in the Oakland hills. Her images capture the joy and excitement of performers and audience members, showcasing the daring feats, spectacular outfits, and welcoming atmosphere that make the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo an unmissable experience. In addition to Hasbun's photographs, The New Black West features quotes and stories from the cowboys themselves and a foreword from the Oakland rodeo's regional manager, Jeff Douvel.
A VIBRANT COMMUNITY: The Black rodeo in Oakland is the annual event at the heart of a vibrant community. Couples meet and fall in love at the arena, children eagerly anticipate their turn to compete in the different events--and people travel from all over the area and the country to participate.
AN IMPORTANT LEGACY: Named after legendary cowboy and performer, the Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo honors the often-overlooked legacy of Black cowboys in shaping the American West. Hasbun's book spotlights the contemporary riders and performers who carry on that legacy, inviting them to share their own stories with the world.
A UNIQUE CELEBRATION: Hasbun has been photographing the Black rodeo in Oakland for a decade, and this collection of her work is a loving tribute to the community that kept her coming back year after year. Stories from her conversations with the cowboys and cowgirls bring her images to life, making The New Black West a heartwarming celebration of an iconic cultural event.
As a photographer specializing in portraits, Gabriela Hasbun's work highlights the marginalized and unexplored communities around her. Growing up in El Salvador during a devastating civil war, Hasbun learned the importance of documenting the humanity in people others have overlooked. Her fundamental belief in the radical power of storytelling has led her to subjects like Black cowboys, fat activists, queer skateboarders, and the people of the Mission district in San Francisco. At the heart of her photography is a celebration of the complexities of identity and the human spirit.