L'Officiel Hommes USA
TIME AND SPACES
BY Nathalie Nort Architect Bernard Dubois reaches across cultures through his work.
WE’RE CONNECTED to A LEGACY. OVER THE LAST few YEARS WE’VE REALLY STARTED TO EDUCATE ourselves BECAUSE YOU DON’T learn BLACK COWBOY HISTORY IN SCHOOL.
The group looks at their partnerships as an extension of this give-and-take exchange, having been featured in both the fashion and lifestyle spaces. “We know that major brands have a bad habit of trying to co-opt cultural moments and turn them into capitalistic opportunities,” says Hook. “We look for opportunities to tell our story in a real way because at the end of the day we’re trying to bring awareness to what we do for our community.” Part of what drew the Cowboys to working with Tommy Hilfiger this season was the opportunity it gave them to create a campaign with depth that went beyond the optics of Black cowboys as a pop culture aesthetic. Lensed at their ranch, the campaign spotlights the group’s unified identity as modern cowboys, and also expanded to include an online educational course hosted by the Compton Cowboys on the importance of mentorship and community change. “We always look for partnerships that let us get deeper into our mission because that’s the most important work to us. We were able to curate every single part of this down to the editorial, which really spotlights our purpose and how we operate in Compton.”
And even with COVID-19 having distinctly changed the way the organization can interface with the larger community, the group is determined to stay the course, continuing onward unified and synchronized in the face of the pandemic. “We’ve been staying true to what we do: Take care of the ranch and the horses so that when things get back to normal, we’re able to provide the space the kids need to grow and learn,” says Atkins. “Outside of the Tommy campaign, which we had a lot of fun working on, we also have a feature film in development that is almost at the phase where the script is finalized,” adds Hook. “We’re trying to be very intentional about using our platform to raise awareness about what we do. We’ve gotten a lot of support from the entertainment industry and it’s helped us use our platform to move forward. Our biggest mission is to be able to do the work we do in Compton all over the world. By the time the kids in our program get older we want to have ranches all over the world, and hopefully inspire others to do what we’re doing in our community in theirs.”