You ever wonder why people grow & maintain these things called dreadlocks? Is their a reason there’s such a vast amount of people around the world who choose this path? And no, its because the musical ghost of Bob Marley led them to do it.
Since the beginning of time until now, dreadlocks have gone thru a string of evolutionary changes and currently represents a strong cultural identity to black people across the world. Film director Aaron Christian gives us a glimpse of the stories told by common dreadlock-stylers in London, UK. From breaking deep rooted stereotypes to infiltrating the fashion industry, these dreadlock-ers share how locking their hair has helped shaped their perspective into who they are & what people perceive them to be. We applaud you Aaron!
“It was the style and confidence that initially drew me in” – Aaron Christian, Film Director
Barbering just kicked up a notch. If you know anything about Supreme it remains a timeless brand of street-luxury. It may not necessarily be a religion but it might as well be with its worldwide congregation of devout followers / buyers stretching ages 15-35 (estimated worth $40 mil). Supreme continues to push the envelope of development with collaborations over the years that still have customers salivating. This morning, my friend texted me this photo of the newest one with hair product powerhouse: Andis. Since I’ve been a barber, I’ve never seen or heard any type of collabs coming from Andis so this is huge. The original Envy Adjustable is a staple in the hair community and foundational tool for basic fading, designs etc. If hair business needed a new face lift, I think Supreme single handedly did that with this. At the moment, few details have been revealed on the company site. Stay tuned.
Will we see more brand collaborations like this in the hair industry? Is streetwear making its way to grooming? Hit us with your final thoughts.
So its not everyday you get the call to attend a tour show like Logic and Joey Bada$$’EVERYBODY tour. It was nothing pure magic & musical nostalgia watching these two performers pure their lyrical ether to a bucket load of fans at a sold out show. Once that call hit my phone & request to bring my tools, I knew it was time. So I finished my morning at the salon and raced down to the MGM Resort in Maryland. Greeted warmly by tour management, I slid some time to reconnect with some ol’ industry buddies. While Logic & Joey had center stage that night, so did I as I was able to provide cuts to the tour team. From the DJs, instrumentalist, to members of group Pro Era, Groom Guy services were in full effect baby! The conversations were fueled with honesty, authenticity, and an fire exchange of opinions filled with laughter, some vulnerability and communal building.
The night was closed out with pure gratified for the tour team for the service and catching with my guy Joey Bada$$. Tour life can definitely be a point of tension for following a grooming formula. Luckily, Groom Guy was able to drop some quick gems to make sure there’s a healthy balance of general upkeep thats not too tough to maintain. Thank ya’ll for a classic night. Until next time….
Mental health and the barbershop have a deep correlation that exceeds beyond a haircut and goes into the mind of a man. One of Groom Guy’s core values is celebrating diversity in the realm of barbering & overall grooming but we also spotlight the barbershop’s cultural significance within particular ethnic groups. Read full story below.
Hands On Barbers in Mount Rainier, Maryland is pretty much my second home. The tiny barbershop is tucked between an equally small Dominican beauty salon and a dusty antique shop walking distance from the nation’s capital. The neighborhood surrounding my safe haven isn’t the best.
There’s a growing problem with local residents abusing PCP, alcoholics wandering up and down the block with brown paper bags of booze, and abandoned buildings outnumbering the occupied ones. I know this doesn’t sound too appealing to the average person, but I am there every week due to my sometimes untamable facial hair.
If Hands On is my home, then the barbers, Will and John, are the older brothers that I never knew I wanted. Not only are they experts on black hair, but they are unofficially sports analysts, local restaurateurs, DC historians, and more importantly, therapists (their business cards only say “barber,” though). They’ve been there for me for years—and I’m not talking about just their crisp haircuts and beard trims either. I’ve talked with them about absolutely everything from job interviews and my personal health issues to my dating life and, of course, how shitty the Redskins can be.
It has been well discussed that many people of color are not fansof therapy. Taking it a step further, blacks have significant issues when it comes to trusting health professionals and are sometimes undertreated when we do go to the doctor. That, along with the Trumpcare on the horizon and 22 million people possibly losing healthcare in the next decade, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the black community.
However, the need to take matters into our own hands—which can mean self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, not expressing our issues, and a slightly healthier option: relying on communal spaces to vent where individuals have similar backgrounds and experiences. Places like church, or yes, the barbershop.
“In these public communal spaces, there is less fear of that type of racism which would be further detrimental to our health,” says Carlton Green, a psychologist at the University of Maryland. “For decades, the barbershop has been a place of self-definition where black people have this degree of power in a society where in most cases we feel inferior. In these communal spaces, we are not constrained to larger social norms.”
Being around other men who occupy the same neighborhoods allows for a level of understanding and makes it easier to open up about issues that aren’t discussed at home or in a doctor’s office. It’s as if they’ve taken a cue from British barbers, who at certain shops are actually given mental health training to help deal with the rising number of male suicides in Europe.
In the US, barbershops have been consistently used as research sites for communicating health messages. Nonprofits like the Colorado Black Health Collaborative (CBHC) partnered with healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente to create barbershops that combine health outreach initiatives. By combining the barbershop experience with interventions for hypertension, diabetes, and HIV for people of color, the program was able to expand from one barbershop to twelve. Health professionals are starting to realize that when it comes to treating men more effectively, it starts with being in the public spaces that we frequent.
“Barbershops allow African American men to talk about a myriad of issues impacting the black community,” says Larry Walker, a researcher who has written extensively about black barbershops and mental health. “Important issues including politics, economic development, and wellbeing are frequently discussed. Without barbershops, black men would have very few places to feel physically and emotionally safe.”
Every type of person walks through the shop doors on a given day. Police officers, city councilmen, addicts, family men, and their sons are all welcome. But once you sit in that chair, it’s like the walls we build come crashing down and every opinion comes out. For an hour or two, you can unapologetically raise your voice, call your cheating girlfriend everything under the sun, and walk out feeling and looking like a better man. It’s cathartic. But is it actually therapy?
“Barbershops are considered the black man’s country club and often there are men in there who are not even getting haircuts,” says Sula Hood, a behavioral and social sciences professor at Indiana University-Purdue University. “But the relationship between a man and his barber is a unique and trusting relationship. Barbers tend to chime in with their own personal experiences so the client doesn’t feel isolated or alone. That’s a different kind of relationship [than] a psychologist, who may not identify with you.”
Of course, there’s a big difference between getting treated by a mental health professional and working through some issues with a barber. Receiving cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) from a psychologist may restore a brain’s structural balance and ease chronic pain. For illnesses like bipolar disorder, cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) has proven to be an effective treatment. You won’t get those benefits hanging out at the shop—some people might even find being around large groups of people to be stressful. No doubt, the physical and mental benefits of seeing a professional outweigh the benefits of not seeing one.
That being said, there’s something about the safe space of the barbershop that gets men to open up, no matter how personal the subject matter. Three-time NBA champion LeBron James alluded in a recent barbershop conversation to turmoil between him, his wife, and his mother about potentially coming back to Cleveland in 2014. In 2015, rapper Killer Mike and then Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had an extensive conversation in a barbershop ranging from free healthcare to social justice issues.
Yes, there are clinical differences between paying 150 dollars an hour for therapy from a psychologist and a 20 dollar haircut from my favorite barber. One is a licensed mental health professional and the other is not. But both have their place. This past weekend, for instance, one of my best friends, Brad, and I took the short drive to the barbershop for our Saturday morning ritual. After waiting my turn and conversing with the regulars, John offered his chair, and then he asked how my parents were doing.
GQ: Besides washing, what do you do to keep your facial hair looking fresh?
Stalley: I have a great barber named Sherman in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. He uses Andis clippers and a straight razor. He’s been cutting my hair for about 13 years now.
GQ: Any other products you use? Oils, etc.?
Stalley: No other products but pure confidence and a handsome face.
GQ: Lastly, what advice do you have for someone who’s looking to make a long-term beard-growth commitment?
Stalley: It’s pretty simple advice – just patience and let it grow.
Fast forward into 2017, the Blue Collar Gang CEO gives us a audio glimpse of his forthcoming album, New Wave, with the newest single below. You’ll want to make sure you’re pressing the gas with the windows down on this one.
In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting and the resulting unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, Shaun “Lucky” Corbett wanted to do his part to ease tensions his own community. A barber in Charlotte, Shaun reached out to his local police department to explore how he could help encourage and build stronger bonds between officers and the city. Shaun teamed up with Officer Rob Dance to start a mentoring program to encourage cooperation and understanding. And, so far, the program has been successful in opening up a productive and important dialogue between the police force and the community. Watch the full video below to get a glimpse into the program & its long term impact on the youth.
The programs include:
– Cadet training
– Transparency programs
NBA’s LeBron James & Draymond Green are the lasts two we’d expect to be in the same room sharing a laugh…but ESPN made it happen courtesy of the barbershop. They share thoughts on NBA, Olympics, music & more at the gentlemen’s sanctuary aka barbershop. In the video, we also discover why LeBron’s Mom didn’t want him to go back to Cleveland. Other guests included 2Chainz, Steve Stoute and more.
I’m sure LeBron James dismisses these video after watching his rival team take a sweeping win as the new Champions. Either way, it’s got some light hearted moments we don’t when they’re on the court.
Watch as Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. discusses how the African-American community uses Twitter to discuss social issues and finds out why that communication is unique to black culture in this hilarious new segment.
Shout out to the set direction in picking a barbershop and recognizing it as a cultural landmark. Whether you’re black, white, yellow, this video is a must watch!
Nasir Sobhani aka ‘The Streets Barber’, is a true Nomad, not just of the world, but also of the mind. Growing up in Japan, attending University in Canada, volunteering his time for Youth Work in the Vanuatu and then Australia to start up his own initiative helping the homeless, Nasir has certainly lived a fruitful life. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though, with a crippling drug addiction along the way, Nasir thanks his Baha’i faith and barbering for his new found sobriety. Working six days a week cutting hair, Nasir spends his one day off hitting the streets to give free haircuts to the homeless. He calls it, ‘Clean Cut Clean Start’. [via PLGRM]
Nasir Sobhani was recently selected & featured for Kenneth Cole’s The Courageous Class campaign this past 2016. We salute you and your effort to push the barber industry forward shedding light on social issues and changing lives one day at a time.
It’s no surprise one of the most versatile artists of our generation is Pharrell Williams. From celebrated producer, film composer, philanthropist just to name a few, it continues to amaze us to see his inability to age…at least show it. Over the years, you’ll fail to point any type of wrinkle or grey hair on his head? How? Why?
We were able to finally compile three solid reasons why after a couple research interviews.
Red meat reduction
He explains in a couple archived interviews that a lot of his daily intake is good ol’ H2O. “You know, I guess, its lots of water” says Pharrell. We can hardly imagine anything less then water would suffice considering this man probably travels to Dubai and London while on a “lunch break.” We can also assume that from the late studio nights to early music compositions with Hans Zimmer, he’s not touching any Deer Park or Poland Spring bottles. An creative of his stature likes to load up on Core Water.
It’s probably one of the most overused words you hear your girlfriend saying but its about time you understand it. The term “exfoliate” simply means the act of removing, in this case, dead skin cells. So we’re sure in between his private studio sessions & hosting gigs, Pharrell adds this routine to his schedule. Keep the skin refreshed & clean with a weekly regimen of exfoliation 2-3 times a week.
Red Meat Reduction
Although there is no proven facts surfacing that red meat indeed affects ones overall health including skin & aging, Pharrell remind us to enjoy in moderation. He’s not only a proud Southerner (Virginia native) but he also shares that he treats his stomach to classic BBQ….and so can you. I can add that you do lower your chances of any type of reaction to red meat when slimming your intake. Producers of red meat, like your local super market, does have a reputation for having extremely questionable methods of chemically-enhanced farming. The less chemicals the better!
Watch him respond to questions on his mastering of agelessness with the Breakfast Club. You can see catch him gracing your newsstands on the cover this month’s Esquire Magazine.