Netflix's 'Concrete Cowboy' Sheds Light on the Stories of Black Cowboys

A "woke history" must-watch!

So you probably think you know all there is to know about cowboys based off of old Hollywood Western movies and stories from history books. There’s a white, John Wayne-esque lead (it’s likely just John Wayne) on horseback in the great American West — shooting indigenous people, getting laid, and saving the town. You know, that whole story. BUT! To many people’s surprise, there’s an entire subculture and community of black cowboys that have been white-washed out of these narratives. They’ve been around for over a hundred years and got their start during the days of slavery when white southerners left them to look after their land and cattle herds. Once slavery was over, they were either hired to continue this work or migrated out west and up north where they took their skills and horses with them. On April 2nd, Netflix released the eye-opening and inspirational film, Concrete Cowboy, directed by Ricky Staub starring Idris Elba and Stranger Things’ Caleb McLaughlin.

This film, which was based off of the novel “Ghetto Cowboy”, attracted Western film fans, Idris Elba super fans, and Stranger Things fans alike to a coming of age story in the present-day streets of Philadelphia- where horses are the pet of choice over dogs and cats. We’re here for it too!

Here’s what one of our PopViewers had to say about the film:

It is so typical of the movie industry to find incredible lost stories and exploit the communities that they originate from. Concrete Cowboy does such an amazing job of incorporating the legit real-life cowboys into the film. You don’t even know until they very end that they aren’t trained actors! Oops…spoiler alert.

This cowboy community is currently fighting to keep their traditions and heritage, as developers sweep in to use their stables’ land for real estate development. But as Idris Elba’s character puts it, “Home ain’t a place, it’s a fam.” This fam of black cowboys used to rock with horses and buggies until it was decided in 1897 that the city didn’t need horses anymore and that they would get trolleys to replace them. Respect

Bottom line – this film teaches you to #KnowYourHistory. Move over John Wayne, because black cowboys are not a myth!

[“I went to college in Oklahoma so I thought I was prepared for this film but ALAS nothing could prepare me” – Sarah Hinrichsen]

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