The concept of the black barbershop being the center of black male-bonding is a popular mantra within black culture. This phenomenon has been captured through pop culture through the Barbershop movie series and even news segments where news anchors frivolously try to understand Black folk within a 5-minute segment. You want to know what’s happening in the world of sports? Go to the barbershop. Want unfiltered, unnecessary relationship advice from the male Inyanla Vanzant perspective? Go to the barbershop. Want to see Marvel’s Black Panther movie, even though it’s not slated to be released until 2018? Go to the barbershop. However, I’m here to tell you…the black barbershop ain’t shit.
Full disclaimer. My path to the masculine haven that is the Black barbershop isn’t straight and narrow. I can’t remember my first haircut…not that any adolescent mind would (no matter how precocious I was). My earliest recollection of a pair of clippers hitting my scalp was in the kitchen of a double-wide trailer called home. (Note. My family still calls that trailer home, even though it was moved from one city to another. Vroom! Vroom!) I don’t recall how I looked with that haircut, but I trust it was age appropriate and that my fade was tight since one of my older cousins manned the clippers. I look at a few pics of me as a child, and I approve. However, as I got older something changed drastically. My father, who would morph into Julius from Everybody Hates Chris, became my barber. (This is the same man that rocked a jheri curl once back in the days.) Growing up, I was always a little conscious of my style and how I appeared. But not enough to discern what’s a good haircut and what’s a bad one. Going to an elementary school where the kids were a lot older and their ages ranged from six to eleven, I, all of sudden, became the cursed kid reckoned for ridicule…I then realized. I…HAD…A…CHILI…BOWL.
As I entered middle school, I started earning money. And with that money, I started spending on my scalp. Not as often as others. But as much as I could. This is when I recognized that BARBERSHOPS AIN’T SHIT.
Wait…and wait…and wait…’til Kingdom come. One of the main reasons why I hate it is the long wait. Look nigga, I just wanna get a haircut not a brand new scalp. I knew it was a problem when my mom would go to Nanny Pat’s Hair Salon, and she would beat me and my brother home. I mean I would wake up four-day in the morning just to get a haircut. I shouldn’t have to plan my whole weekend based off of a haircut that’ll only look fresh for a week. I know some people are asking, “Why don’t you schedule an appointment?” Making an appointment is a farce just to get extra $5. You’re basically getting taxed for a haircut.
Supporting your local entrepreneur. Another reason I hate barbershop is because of the unwarranted solicitor. I walk into the barbershop 7 AM in the morning with money for my fade and a tip (if I feel like it). I do not have extra change to support anyone’s career in panhandling. I don’t wanna buy Remy No. 24 Virgin Nigerian hair, nor do I have extra change to purchase the latest Hidden Colors VIII or Finding Primo (the “urban” version of finding Nemo). My time and money is spent, and I need to save.
The LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan conversation. In the barbershop, everyone’s a sports analyst with facts that are as reliable as Bierbert.com. In fact, I’m pretty sure this new fake news phenomenon started in the barbershop. And trust, there’s definitely a Stephen A. Smith-esque character who is the loudest, the boldest and ultimately the wrong-est person in the shop. Insert, the most trying and annoying conversations, more annoying than your auntie pronouncing the word “meme” mee-mee. Lebron James vs. Michael Jordan. No matter if your proclaiming Lebron or Jordan to be better (Jordan is) – it’s annoying. And the Stephen A. Smith degenerate will let you know every time the words “ball” or “sports” are mentioned.
Hotep dipped in conspiracy theories. Speaking of ignorance, don’t bring up religion, politics or social issues in the barbershop. It’ll become a bad CNN town hall hosted by a blaring Roland Martin character, the know-it-all. He may even rock a pretentious ascot while getting his haircut. But then there’s the hotep with the beady naps on his chest that’s begging for some clippers…or at least some tweezers. He’s never there to get his hair. He’s just there to cause a raucous, mostly with the Roland Martin moderator. Topics to be discussed argued over include: how the Illuminati wanted Trump to win the election, why a woman can’t be president, why Barack Obama technically isn’t Black, why black women ruined Nate Parker’s career, how the media is turning black men gay, and how watching the news and discerning what is and isn’t true is making us negropeans.
Yeah, I’ve sat here and named all the reasons why I hate going to the barbershop more than going to the doctor. Yet, I still go. I guess it’s a necessary annoyance. This is ultimately why Black barbershops ain’t shit!