Black Rodeo: A History of the African American Western

Sep. 20, 2023, 5:00 p.m.–6:15 p.m.

Rosenwald Theater, Vogelstein Center for Drama and Film Room 109

African American Westerns have a rich cinematic history and visual culture. Mia Mask, Professor of Film on the Mary Riepma Ross ’32 Chair and author of , Black Rodeo: A History of the African American Western (2023), examines the African American Western hero within the larger context of film history by considering how Black westerns evolved. Woody Strode’s 1950s transformation from football star to actor was the harbinger of hard-edged Western heroes later played by Jim Brown and Fred Williamson. Sidney Poitier’s Buck and the Preacher provided a narrative helmed by a groundbreaking African American director and offered unconventionally rich roles for women. Mask moves from these discussions to consider blaxploitation westerns and an analysis of Jeff Kanew’s hard-to-find 1972 documentary about an all-Black rodeo. Her book addresses how these movies set the stage for modern-day films, including westploitation films like Django Unchained. A first-of-its-kind survey, Black Rodeo illuminates the figure of the Black cowboy while examining the intersection of African American film history and the western.

Campus community only, please.