In the documentarian work of Ronald Price, AKA Dingo, we are confronted with the exploration of masculinity, specifically black masculinity, as defined through the lens of a contemporary history of black outlaw motorcycle clubs and their roots within a black Western cowboy tradition. Seeing both sub-cultures as intrinsic to the growth and self-reflection of the American psyche but ignored by the culture at large, Price charts the link between both and researches the untold tales of the MC lifestyle.
With a background in Hollywood, as well as an active membership in the Chosen Few Motorcycle Club (a multi-racial MC), Price re-narrates lost and hidden aspects of marginalized black history as a critique of racism and invisibility. Something of a beacon of hope for young black men, through the potential shown by those who have blazed trails before them, Price’s work focuses on positive role models and ideals. Part propaganda, part history lesson, his work invests the artist into the scenarioas a reflected subject while also maintaining a pivotal location as distanced investigator.
Interviews with infamous Hells Angel Sonny Barger, iconic Easy Rider Dennis Hopper and other illustrious biker alumni set the stage in Price’s full-length film, “Free Black Horse,” which traces these cyclists from their earliest hedonistic days of wild freedom on steel horses and the rising Civil Rights movement, through the drug addled epidemic that decimated inner city communities in the ‘80s, to today’s younger sets of participants of all colors as they continue the rare experiment in multi-racial MC life, its brotherhood, rivalries and legacy.
A strong sense of the constituent parts of this layered stratum of a male society and its bonds, mythologies and abuses are investigated through photographic mise-en-scène and the documentary film format, as well as through handcrafted functional objects related to the biker experience. The independence of Price’s ‘maker’ approach echoes those modes of Americanism that the work explores—rugged individuality, self-reliance, honor and integrity—and are all reflected through the construction of the stereotypes, self-imaging, wish fulfillment and social codes of these groups. Unlike Hunter S. Thompson’s foray into Hells Angel culture, Price has committed to a lifestyle that he then explores from the inside. A search for identity, a search for freedom…