1001 Black Men #814

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I’ve got less that 200 drawings left, and my goal is to have completed this series by the beginning of June. Every 100 drawings, I’ve tried to take stock of which kinds of Black men and Black men’s experiences I’ve depicted in my drawings and which kinds of brothas I’ve overlooked.

At this point, I know that I still have some work to do in terms of the inclusion of homeless men, gender non-forming men, and the young brothas in the baggy pants and big shirts. It has also occurred to me that one of the places I enjoy seeing Black men most is in their cars. Whether young or old, alone or with friends, in a late-model lexus or a vintage conversion van, brothas in their cars are the embodiment of independence–the fundamental refusal to be told where to go, how to be, and when to be it. To me, they look like freedom

I love how a man like the one is this drawing–an elder who doesn’t drive with as much speed and control as he used to–is nonetheless holding space, driving slower in the passing lane than is really acceptable, but either oblivious to or uninterested in other peoples’ honking, gestures, and tailgating. Even if he doesn’t own a home, and even if he’s never been anybody’s boss, his car is his domain, and he’s going to drive it however he wants.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #813

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Alternative Press Expo, Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #812

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Time for more drawings of the brothas of the 2014 comic and zine circuit. I chatted with this guy at the East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest. He didn’t buy anything, but we had a nice talk about the comic book he would like to see me draw next. He was not at all shy about sharing some suggested directions for my upcoming works.

To him I say, “Homie, if I ever do a comic with Frederick Douglass as a time-traveling, light saber-wielding civil rights activist, you will be the first to know!”

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #809

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Before I continue with more drawings of brothers from the 2014 comic and zine conventions, I need to include this bearded fellow I encountered on a late night Safeway run. We were both looking for items in the same section of the frozen entrees aisle. He and his friend were looking for some sort of tater tot item. I was looking for El Monterey breakfast burritos and a couple other items on a list of foods for an upcoming guest. This guy was tall enough that I was able to grab my items out of the case while he was holding the door open, without even having to duck. He was like a tall, young, Black string bean with a beard. I was like a short-ish, middle-aged, pudgy, Black sweet potato, with mostly white hair; and on this particular, we were both buying highly processed food from a Bay Area grocery megastore.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #811

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I like grocery shopping after work. I like being part of a group of people all of whom have the same goal, to pick something up for dinner that won’t make our day too much longer than it already has been. I enjoy looking at everyone’s outfits and trying to figure out what they do for a living. This guy had me stumped. I think his hat and his jacket were part of a uniform; the way they matched was just too perfect. On the other hand, why would the uniform require a matching hat and jacket, but no matching shirt. He was wearing a generic type of rugby shirt that appeared to have no relationship whatsoever to the rest of his outfit. I was so tempted to go up to him, explain my project, and ask about what he was wearing. I’ve done it before, after all. But on the evening I encountered this guy, I was just too tired to engage with a stranger. It had been an exhausting day of meetings, and I simply didn’t have the energy to break out of my end-of-day bubble and talk to a stranger.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #810

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@Bent-con, Burbank, California, November 2014.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #808

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@Bent-con, November 2014, Burbank, CA.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #807

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@Bent-con, November 2014, Burbank, CA.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #806

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@Bent-con, November 2014, Burbank, CA.

1001 Black Men #805

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@Bent-con, November 2014, Burbank, CA.