By chance, I found myself at a black rodeo in Oklahoma. At the time I was struggling with self-identity, as a black man, as a hybrid citizen born into cultural poverty, currently living on the West Coast in isolation and privilege. I grew up in Kansas in a small house with my sister, mother, and grandmother. We ran through the field all summer fingers stained from blackberries, catching lightning bugs. I never went to the dentist, skinned my knees to the bone, and caught my first crappie at Clinton Lake. Somehow I never described myself as country. That was an identity I felt was reserved for white people. At the rodeo, I met stoic blacks who rode horses, herded cattle, and grew crops. Initially apprehensive, the points of relation and shared context were resounding, allowing me to reconcile my past and own that part of my identity. Through my rodeo photos, I am able to immerse myself in my own culture, hoping to amplify the image of rural, self-sufficient and hardworking blacks.

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by Ivan McClellan

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by Ivan McClellan

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by Ivan McClellan

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by Ivan McClellan

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by Ivan McClellan

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by Ivan McClellan

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by Ivan McClellan

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by Ivan McClellan

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by Ivan McClellan

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