Listen now | An interview with founder and executive director of the Black Cowboy Coalition Aisha McElroy
Hi! I've listened to nine full episodes so far and am halfway through a tenth. This, for me, has been the most exciting and engaging. One, because I have worked with horses and developed a close bond with a dapple gray percheron named Lance. I have known Black cowboys and cowgirls. We all understood that bond between human and horse. And two, because I am enthralled with the way Alisha presents herself. She is poised and confident, which I can say about most of your guests. But in addition she moves easily between worlds. I have known many people like this, male and female, and they always capture my attention. She moves from what might be called a stereotypically lively Black woman with an alluring dialect, to a more professorial approach. And I say all this without having seen her photo until just a few minutes ago. I know people like her who slip from one language into another and when they do, you can hear a different passion in their voice. I hope I am not gushing too much; as I said, this sort of charismatic slipping between personas has always held great appeal to me. It fascinates me.
And Aisha, I greatly admire your goals and focus. You are able to focus on inner city communities and proudly extol all that it means to be Black in America, while simultaneously welcoming and collaborating with diverse partners. Without being burdened by being labeled not Black enough or Boujee. I know the worlds you used were "pretentious" and "rich," but I can easily imagine you being confronted with the same sort of sad, reductive thinking.
When I first got involved with the Black Stills of southern New Jersey, I very much wanted to show that my small White voice was every bit as important as theirs. I wanted them to expand their presentation of themselves as including Whiteness (I am, after all, the White Sheep of the family). But that was 30 years ago, and thankfully I grew out of that intrusive need for validation. I realize now how important it is for the family to be Black and celebrate Blackness, and yet I can, Still, fit comfortably into the Still Family.
I would love to attend one of those events you mentioned with thousands of Black cowpokes - if they would have me. I have often been the only White face in the room. I guess what it comes down to, Aisha, is it sounds like you have a ton of fun all while pursuing your laser-focused and profoundly uplifting vision. It's infectious.
Peace. Be good to yourself.