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How Solange and Mitski Reconsider Who Can Be the Cowboy

Michelle Kim


2019, MAR 21

As the “yeehaw agenda” takes hold online, two prominent women of color question the significance of the beloved American hero in their music.

The American cowboy usually appears in modern pop culture as a lonesome gunslinger—a symbol of Manifest Destiny and a standard of white masculinity, a brave hero who fought the Native American “enemy.”
In the past three years, a new wave of black artists have been reclaiming the cowboy archetype. Inspired by photographers like Brad Trent, Deanna Lawson, and Ron Tarver, who’ve been documenting black cowboy culture, the “yeehaw agenda” has spread across social media with a fury this year.

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