After 999 drawings, created and posted over the last 6½ years, I’ve finally reached the last two portraits in my 1001 Black Men Online Sketchbook.
You may have noticed that most of my drawings depict Black men in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’ve lived in Oakland, California since 1999, and the portraits in this series depict the people I encounter in my day-to-day life.
For my last two drawings, though, I’ve looked outside the Bay Area to include two of my favorite Black men, the first an old friend and new colleague, and the second a beloved family member. I will begin a new portrait-based series later this month, and in that series, I will include several of the local African American men who I was not able to include in the 1001 Black Men series; but because that next project focuses solely on Bay Area residents, I will be able to include neither of these last two figures, because each lives far outside our SF Bay region.
Drawing #1000 is a portrait of Scott Poulson-Bryant. If you’ve ever picked up an issue of Vibe Magazine or watched the late 1990s VH1 series Four on the Floor, then you’ll probably recognize him. He spent years as a journalist, and was widely known for his insightful and nuanced work on hip-hop music and its personalities. Today, Scott is an Assistant Professor of English at Fordham University, where he teaches courses in African American literature and cultural studies.
I first met Scott during our early undergraduate years at Brown University, where we shared an interest in writing and pop culture as well as a love of hip-hop dance parties. In the years since that time, we’ve crossed paths on both coasts, as we’ve each made our way through careers in that interesting and generative space where African American culture, arts, and literature meet.
The story of Scott’s journey from Brown University undergrad to hip-hop journalist (and one of the founders of Vibe Magazine) to Harvard PhD student to Fordham Professor is as unexpected as it is inspiring; and it’s a story he tells best. Check out this recent interview on the Fordham English website: Faculty Highlights–Scott Poulson-Bryant.