During the settlement of the West, one in four cowboys were black. But their contributions have long been overlooked by the mainstream historical record.
One need only look at the backlash over 2019’s biggest single, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” to see how overlooked black cowboys have become.
When Wrangler jeans teamed with the rapper, the company faced criticism over what some claimed was cultural appropriation—that the cowboy image was the province of white America.
“Old Town Road” became the longest-running, number-one single in the history of the Billboard charts and spawned a wider interest in the tradition of black cowboys.
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