How Barbershops Can Be Counseling Clinics
My Barber is a therapist
March 09, 2017 at 2:31 pm
Historically, black men have been taught not to show any signs of weakness or a need for help, physically or emotionally. A strict cast structure has placed black masculinity in a box with few ways for one to express themselves as an exit. The barbershop is the most influential place that reveals the essence of black male bonding. For some black men, the barbershop allows them to have privacy with each other. It permits them to talk and express freely their problems. Simply, it allows black men to ask for help.
As a scholar-practitioner in higher education, I wanted to develop an opportunity for black males to engage in culturally relevant conversation that could ignite the healing process. Just like many others, I too face the battles of self-identification and navigating "black masculinity", "masculinity" and "maleness". I found comfort in the barbershop, a spaced used by many but never really appreciated for the healing properties.
Since its inception, barbershops have offered diverse common, conjured, and authentic talks. The essence of these talks remove the hegemonic view of masculinity and allow men to be themselves and open the gate to healing. These sacred spaces remove the fear of how others will perceive them, establish a sense of safety, and birth socially appropriate ways of interacting.
My barber, Nigel, has been my best friend since I moved back to eastern Virginia. Similar to the hesitation of churches, barbershops have been pillars in the Black community.