The Black Barbershop is considered to be a staple in every neighborhood.
It teaches the aspect of business and ownership to community members and is widely seen as a speakeasy where any and everything can be discussed. On top of getting a great cut, the barbershop allows us to develop (and sometimes debate) our views on music, politics and everything in between. The healthy banter keeps the culture alive and passes off lessons without realizing it.
In preparation for Barbershop: The Next Cut which hits theaters April 15, NewsOne asked eight frequent customers of the shop to share some of the most important lessons they’ve learned or heard while in the chair. Check out their nostalgic stories below:
Jordan Freeman, Enterprise Technology Analyst, Bank of America
“When I got the chance to go to barbershops on my own, I started to go to the Black barbershops in my neighborhood. These are the places where I met the first Black business owners I would know, and also learned a lot about myself and how I wanted to be viewed. One of the most important things I’ve ever learned was who to listen to as opposed to just listening to someone because they’re older and have been around a bit longer than you. There’s something to learn from everyone, but it’s just that some people will teach you the wrong ways to do something instead of the right ones. I’ll say I developed a good sense of character judgment and have learned over the years a difference between wisdom and experience”
Josias Valdez, Visual Media Specialist
“Never take anything you see for granted. Always question the system.” – Henry The Barber
Datwon Thomas, Editor-In-Chief, Vibe Magazine
“The barbershop was like the homeboy club. We used to get fresh just to go to the barbershop to get fresh for later. Different days would give you different experiences. Thursday late might get you a wisdom session from the older heads that would come after work, so their haircut was on point for those Friday after work parties. Friday night would get you the hustlers with the cars and big cash and they would talk in coded slang. Saturday afternoons got you a mix of everything, single Moms with scared sons, basketballers explaining how they lost a game, big storytellers. And what I learned was how to take all of that and read people. How they move, why they say things and how they deliver it. My barbers were the most knowledgeable cats, they dealt with so many different classes of money and education that they kind of spit out these nuggets of life gems that helped navigate me through certain situations. Especially with women, haha!”
Ike Love, Photographer
“I’ve learned the power of owning your own business. I’ve been going to the same shop (Phase One, Bronx, NY) for about 15 years. It’s the only black-owned business in the neighborhood. It’s inspiring to see and also sad that there aren’t more like it in the neighborhood. I feel we need to empower ourselves more and get into ownership.”
Damian Scott, Sixth-Grader at the Ron Clark Academy In Georgia
“I like barbershops because I get to have fun with my Dad and talk about sports and politics. What I’ve learned in a Barbershop is to listen to my elders and always stay still!”
Terry Carter, Entertainment Writer for Pop Sugar
“The biggest lesson I learned about the barbershop is this golden rule: never cheat on your barber! I left my barber for another barber and, ’til this day, I still feel awkward whenever I run into him. He doesn’t speak to me!”
Andrew Asare, Digital Marketing Manager, Def Jam Records
“The lesson I’ve learned in my barbershop: “there’s never a dull moment. It’s like a reality show. On a weekly basis I’ve walked into some of the most passionate debates about religion to relationships.
My barbershop is like my second home. My barber Manny is not just my primary groomsman, but a friend, who keeps it all the way too real and who I always have an argument with, and feature on my SnapChat, LOL.”
Shaheem Reid, Hip-Hop Historian & Culture Ambassador
“The best piece of advice I got from the barbershop had to be when I was young. I used to go to the barber at 7 a.m. before class. This older guy (Mr. Lonnie) would always talk to me about the fundamentals of staying in school not getting deterred. In Southside Queens, there were a lot of things that I would come across, from drug dealers looking to recruit kids to people who just wanted to fight for no reason. My barber would say “Sometimes you might incur a lot of chaos on the way to school, it’s just the devil and its forces trying to stop you from getting a great education. No matter what you encounter on journey, there’s more than one route to get to school. As long as you can handle your business, it doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you get there.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Instagram, Handout