Tag Archives: Beards

1001 Black Men #881


I ran into this sharply dressed gentleman and his son outside SoleSpace, on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. I was waiting to deliver some art, just prior to the start of my June art show there. This gentleman was from San Francisco, and his son was visiting from Brooklyn (or was it vice versa). In any event, I did portraits of the both of them, and I’ll post my drawing of his son as soon as its done.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #880


Another brotha in redwood country. Even more peculiar than seeing Black people in Garberville, California was running into this brother in Willits, a few miles south. He was filling his car near us at the Safeway filling station.  He was dressed in the knit cap, hoodie, and jeans so common to young men in the area. The only difference between his look and theirs was his Blackness; and in that part of California, it really made him stand out.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #871


Black men turn up in the most interesting locations. Four hours north of Oakland, in Humboldt County, Garberville is the last place anyone would expect to see a person of African descent. And yet, while I was there, I crossed paths with several Black men. Perhaps they were pursuing careers in the production and distribution of the local cash crop.

Ajuan Mance

1001 Black Men #864


There’s something I like about the kind of beard this brotha is wearing. Some Black men I see around Oakland wear similarly shaped beards, but braided. Others wear them loose (like the man in this drawing), but with much the same effect. I think I like this specific beard style because it reminds me of the beards of the Egyptian pharaohs.

Let me be clear: Some of the kings of Egypt were Black Africans, and the people of ancient Egypt, prior to the incursion of the Greeks, were most certainly not white people. My belief in the greatness and wonder of Black people does  not, however, rely heavily (or at all) on the notion that there were (and are) Black kings and queens.  After all, most of us don’t have royal ancestry, and throughout most of human history, monarchs have not generally been known for their kind and compassionate use of their power.

Beheadings, foot servants, and excessive wealth aside, though, the Egyptian pharaohs are fascinating to me, if only because the artifacts of their dynasties enable us to reach back into the ancient past and lay our eyes or (in some cases) our hands on real material evidence of how far into the past the roots of our humanity–our feelings, concerns, and conceits–truly extend.

Ajuan Mance