The focal point for black communities.
The congregation centre for black men.
The place to make yourself look fresh for the world.
I know this is going to hurt people, especially young black men who pride themselves in getting their ritual haircut at their local establishment, but hear me out. Up and down the Country thousands of men, f ortnightly, take a trip to visit the one man in their life who they know will be there. He didn’t run away. He didn’t leave you when you needed him. He was always been there. The barber. Afro’s and pickey heads of every level of knottiness flock to their local barber shops to make themselves look slightly more presentable for the lady at the job centre. Kiddding!
The barbershop is supposed to be the centre of the community, a place where young and old come together to connect and bond with one another as well as getting a haircut, but I think it’s a dying business model which has remnants of forced cultural significance pushed by those who have an interest in it. With all the information out there you can learn to cut your hair yourself just as good as your barber. I’m not sure if it’s possible with longer hair, but for black males, it will cost you around thirty pounds to get a decent set of clippers and shaver, and just time invested to make sure you do a good job. It will take you a couple of hours to learn how to cut your hair the right way and carry it out. I would advise young men to take the fifty pounds a month spent on the barbershop and stick it in any ETF that tracks one of the major market indices. Based over the past ten years the interest would look to be around ten per cent and after depositing the fifty pounds each month for ten years that would leave you with £10,462.95. Deduct the 462.95 and say that will buy you around 10 set of clippers which is one a year and you’re left with £10,000 to do with what you please.
This might seem facetious but it’s just one example of how social & cultural pressures limit the opportunities many of us have. I do believe that community is important, however communities are made up of individuals and without strong independent and most importantly SMART individuals communities turn to shit. This is something we’ve seen time and time again within black communities globally. This isn’t just a UK problem, or a US problem, most of the countries in the world have a racially segregated hierarchy of success and happiness and black people tend to be at the bottom every time.
The cultural values we had as black people were once very useful for us to overcome adversity, but the times have changed so rapidly and it seems black culture has remained stagnant for decades. The barbershop idea mentioned above is a novelty, but the concept can be applied to any similar situation. Take that fifty pounds you’ve saved and invest it. Find ways to save money by looking at your day to day routine and work out what you can do without. Forget about cultural significance when it comes to the betterment of your own life. Society as a whole are way too obsessed with pleasing others and cementing cultural practices, when a lot of this time could be put to working out where to tweak things in your own life. The barbershop is an easy scapegoat because of the trivial impact it actually has, and the obvious solution to the problem it pretends to solve. If anything it’s the start of the process of real self improvement, it just takes a strong character to break outside the mould, especially when it comes to culture.