Jalan Ward | Published April 10, 2021
Perfect timing! Shedding spotlight on the modern day Black Cowboy was a needed angle. A part of history belongs to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where there are Black Cowboys who share a common lifestyle, in the streets of Philadelphia. Once I realized the set up with 'Concrete Cowboy' from its opening scenes, I knew I was in store for a great film.
The history behind the Black Cowboy is very important to understand. The delivery of a film that covers modern day Cowboys; Traditions within Black History. I'm very proud to say that 'Concrete Cowboy' is a must-see for our entire culture. The World has hidden pieces of our knowledge with who we are as Black people. Diversity within our culture is amazing, so many positive lifestyles across the world. We do some incredible things around the world, and this is a film that showcases it perfectly.
A father & son themed film, gave it's most valuable touch. The perfect combination of actors who gave a unique scope, Idris Elba, and Caleb McLaughlin did a impactful job presenting the roles. Caleb McLaughlin's character 'Cole' which was named after a Black Jazz Musician (John Coltrane). Cole was positioned as a troubled-teenager who just could not get his life together. Expelled from school, his mother, a single-parent felt there's nothing else in her will to help him stay on track. The best option for her mental relief was to move Cole to his dad's house for the summer. Once Cole arrives, he is full of anger at both his mother, and his father who he has not been present in his life. Trying to prove to himself that he can survive, he uses his ego instead of his brain to go out and try to find ways to survive on his own. That ended quickly as nobody would take him in for even a night of rest. His last resort was to sleep in a horse stable, this is where his first interaction with a horse becomes the changing course for Cole.
As Cole is still fighting mental rejection from his father who name is Harp, he starts to pay attention to what lifestyle his father lives amongst other fellow Cowboys & Cowgirls. He hears the great stories of his father, and also see the leadership his father possess amongst the group. He gets his first opportunity to understand the lifestyle even more as he is put to work by cleaning up the horse stable, and other labor duties. While taking on these day-to-day tasks, Cole has been hanging around an old friend who is living a dangerous lifestyle of drug-dealing. Juggling trying to figure out why Black people care so much about horses, and hanging with bad influences, it corrupts his mental to make a decision on what is best for Cole.
The movie jumps between the two personalities of Cole where you can't quite see which lane Cole will go. He is falling in love with the lifestyle of how Black people are historical Cowboys, and you want to see his intrigued-focus blossom into a Cowboy of his own. Unfortunately, the other side of Cole would just not break. He continued hanging with his friend 'Smush' even after his dad told him initially not to. Smush life leads to an unwanted scene where he is killed in his car while Cole was the look-out guy seeing the whole scene unravel. Cole life changes from a state of depression to trying to understand right from wrong. He finally makes his ultimate decision, and this is where you knew Cole was special. Bonding with his very own horse was the attachment us viewers needed to piece together Cole's story. A Black kid who wants a self-identity but need's a little guidance whether it's his father or the other Cowboys. The other Cowboys enjoyed Cole's company, and Cole finally realized his part in preserving the culture of Black Cowboys. This special movie unpacks so many messages about the Black community and overcoming. For myself, it was important to watch this film featured on Netflix as I continue to understand more about the Black Cowboy.
It's very important to continue promoting the need for more Black Cowboys, and letting Black culture know the significance, and importance of the original Black Cowboy.
Jalan W. (Writer) Self-reflection
As I continue to explore the diverse world of Black people, my latest experience involved having the opportunity to ride a horse for the first time, and to get educated on the history of Black Cowboys. I'm very amazed by this particular lifestyle I've never been exposed to. Who would have thought Black people live a life to ride horses. Now that I've had my experience, I see exactly why it is a lifestyle. I have not stopped thinking about my involvement with visiting a stable, and riding a horse even after a month has passed by. My plan is to expose kids especially, to other cool things that are going on out here. It is my new mission. I can't wait to continue exploring more in-depth layers of the Black Cowboys around the world. Even if you're not interested in the lifestyle, it is always good to educate yourself on people who look just like you.