I was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas. Our house sat on 5 acres of land in the middle of the city. In the field behind the house I would spend my summers picking blackberries, climbing trees, and catching fireflies with my sister. On the street in front of our home, we would avoid gangs, police, and all forms of trouble.
I grew up, moved away and started a career as a photographer and designer. As I advanced and got promoted, I was surrounded by fewer and fewer black people. I developed a case of imposter syndrome, feeling like I didn’t belong and would be discovered as a fraud. One day I was at a party, and the only other black person there came up and introduced himself. His name was Charles Perry, and he told me he was working on a documentary about Black cowboys. I chuckled, assuming he was kidding. I had seen black cowboys on TV and in movies, but they were always a joke, like Sheriff Bart in Blazing Saddles. He invited me to come to a Black rodeo in Oklahoma that summer to see for myself. I said sure, it was an opportunity to be around black people and get away from my desk job.