Above is an image of a barbershop in which local community members come together and discuss important news and escape from their everyday lives. http://www.itsablackthang.com/images/ErnieBarnes/barber-shop.jpg
Black barbershops have always been a place where community members, young and old, come together and unite over a haircut. The overall experience of getting a haircut is actually much more than just a haircut. It is a time when people can converse and discuss anything from sports to politics.
There is quite a bit of activity going on in the above image. Some men are playing a simple game of checkers. Others are sitting quietly reading the newspaper to themselves. And then there is a young boy on the right side of the image who is getting his haircut. His mother seems to be peering over the barbers’ shoulder in an attempt to instruct the barber on how she wants her sons hair cut. All good mothers have at one point or another instructed a barber on the specifics on how they want their children’s haircut. The image truly illustrates that there is a lot going on in this barbershop just like many that are similar to this all across the world.
The image also shows that boys and men of all ages come and participate in this barbershop dynamic. There is a young boy, some middle aged men, and some senior citizens who are in the barbershop which creates a unique setting to discuss a wide variety of topics. Also, there are sports pennants on the walls as well as important newspaper articles that were important during that time.
The barbershop dynamic also plays itself out in one particular scene in John Oliver Killens’, The Cotillion. Matthew is involved in one scene in particular where his experience sheds light on what the barbershop dynamic is all about. The scene talks about how his experience was not nearly as simple as going for a haircut. He notices that a wide variety of topics are being discussed and that is what makes this experience one that is a learning experience. As Matthew puts it at one point, the conversations are “soul talk” more than anything.
The barbershop scene and the image of the barbershop truly are where boys and men can come together and bond over the shared experience of getting a haircut. I personally, have been going to a black barbershop for the past five years of my life with my two best friends who have grown up going to this same barber. When I enter the barbershop I immediately get a feeling of a community and felt like I was just “one of the guys”.
In summary, the barbershop dynamic is one that helps boys and men come together and get away from their daily lives even if just for thirty minutes. It truly is a valuable experience and one that brings the community closer together.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Barnes, Ernie. “It’s a Black Thing.” 10 June 2008. Web. 20 March 2013. http://www.itsablackthang.com/images/ErnieBarnes/barber-shop.jpg