Following their statement announcing a donation to the NAACP, Wrangler has promised to “take action” regarding racial equality and highlight black cowboys and cowgirls.
“At Wrangler, we have a global platform and a responsibility to use it to drive change,” @Wrangler wrote on Instagram. “We’re committed to telling the stories of Black cowboys, cowgirls, and all who embody the adventurous spirit of the West.”
Since that statement, Wrangler has posted three photo carousels on Instagram, each showcasing a different cowboy/cowgirl of color.
The first featured Kanesha Jackson, a Texas barrel racer and mother with her eyes on the Wrangler NFR.
“I want to be the first African American female to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. That’s my goal,” says Kanesha.
The second post features a cowboy: Jim Pickens, Jr.
Jim started out as a Hollywood actor (ahem, have you seen Grey’s Anatomy?), but found true love when he got a horse and started team roping. He loves the sport and the industry so much that his foundation, the James Pickens JR Foundation, holds a charity roping every year.
“We are all people and we all want to partake in what America has to offer and we love the country as much as anybody, even when it doesn’t love us back,” says Pickens. “That’s the profound message we’re seeing now and what better way to express it than one of the things that’s truly American . . . the cowboy. And we know that he comes in many hues and many shades, and at the end of the day, we want to ride into the sunset hand-in-hand and with the same purpose.”
The most recent cowgirl highlighted by Wrangler is Ja’Dayia Kursh, the second Black Old Fort Days Dandie in Fort Smith, Arkansas and Miss Rodeo Coal Hill Arkansas. Unfortunately, each crowning was followed with backlash, but it made her stronger.
“Whenever you see a Black woman on a horse, you don’t ignore her. You are going to pay attention to her. Because to some people it is so foreign, it is so rare,” she says. “To be the first Black rodeo queen in Arkansas is something so much bigger than myself . . . It’s never been about me. It’s about the little girls who look up to me and the little girl that looks just like me and has never seen a girl in this position. To me, it’s to continue to empower young women and show them we can step up and be whoever we want to be.”
These black cowboys and cowgirls are just three of so many amazing cowfolk out there. Be sure to give them your support on Wrangler’s Instagram!