1001 Black Men #836

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Here’s another portrait from Zocalo cafe. I don’t know what this brotha and his female companion were talking about, but whatever the topic, it required a lot of wrist movement on his part.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #835

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I first noticed the man in this picture at Zocalo cafe in San Leandro. Part of the reason he caught my attention is because I’d been reading a lot about Black dandies and preppies, and he reminded me of the men in The Black Ivy, that amazing photo gallery at streetetiquette.com. A few days later, I spotted him a second time, in downtown Oakland. I’d never seen this man anywhere before, and all of a sudden we were crossing paths twice in one week. If the universe was telling me to make him one of my 1001 Black Men, then who was I to say no.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #834

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I spotted this guy with the amazing locks at Comic-Con 2014. He was leaning against the wall and watching the discussion unfold at the “Black Panel,” a gathering of artists, writers, and celebrities convened by artist and writer Michael Davis. Back when the panel was founded, there weren’t very many Black presenters at the conference. Things have changed a lot in the ensuing years, and you can see African American speakers at any number of official Comic-Con events. Still, the Black panel remains as a marker of the kinds of work that it took to make the conference program as inclusive as it is today.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #833

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I waited a while to do this drawing, because I was hoping I’d find the email address of the man in the picture. This  guy came to the 1001 Black Men panel discussion at CIIS (in September of 2013). He had really nice things to say about my drawings, and I’ve never forgotten him, mostly for the way his compliments put me at ease prior to the panel discussion event.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #832

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Back in January, we spent about nine days in Kauai. It was a lot of fun, but there sure weren’t many Black people. I think there were more Black people in our vacation rental than in the whole rest of the town. (Out of the six people in the vacation rental, three of us were Black.) Most of the Black folks we saw were in the airport.  This is one of the brothers we ran into outside of the airport, at a grocery store in the next town over.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #831

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Waiting for service at Broadway VW, Oakland, CA.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #827

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Spotted in line at the Broadway Volkswagen service desk.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #830

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Peet’s Coffee and Tea, Temescal neighborhood, Oakland.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #829

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This is one of the kind employees behind the service counter at Broadway Volkswagen. No matter how irritated and impatient the customer, he was able to maintain the placid expression you see in this drawing. There aren’t many people who could keep their cool the way he did. Watching him interact with each person in line was like watching a master at work.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #828

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I love going to the Peet’s Coffee & Tea in the Temescal district of Oakland. It’s tucked into a busy-but-unassuming strip mall right off Telegraph, and it’s conveniently located between a great Italian deli and a well-stocked cheese store (just across the street). That makes it the perfect stop during specialty food shopping trips.

The Temescal Peet’s also features one of the most diverse groups of regular customers of any cafe in the area. In addition to African American, white, Asian American, Native American, and Latino customers, there are a critical mass of regulars who represent those parts of the African diaspora that do not have their roots in the Middle Passage.

The Temescal Peet’s has become a gathering place for folks from Ethiopia and Eritrea, and whenever I’m there I get a little bit of a kick out of being in a place where so many ways of being Black are on display.

Ajuan Mance