For decades the African-American community has deemed barbershops and beauty salons as sacred space. Many people share a unique relationship with the person behind the Clippers, while also using the shop as a way to connect with the rest of their community. It’s a place where you can be vulnerable and open up to others who understand your situation. Today, you can find many Black barbers who give back to the community by using their shops to inspire hope in those around them.
Below are just a few of these incredible individuals:
In 2017, 29-year-old Brennon Jones had a chance encounter with a homeless person who would change the course of his life forever. After offering the man the little that he had on him, Brennon realized there was something else that he could give that would be even more meaningful—a haircut. This first client of his would later go on to receive a full-time job thanks to the free cut that Jones gave him. After that, Jones walked the streets of Philadelphia, offering help to those who needed it.
The Shop in Hyattsville, MD cuts hair for over 30,000 people a year. In 2015, 29 of those customers decided to get colonoscopies as a result of the conversations they had with one of the barbers, Fredie Spry. Spry says that he noticed one of his clients showed signs of colon cancer. From that point on, he alerted others who showed similar signs. This act of kindness brought an incredible opportunity. The Shop became one of the first establishments to offer an outreach program that instructs barbers on how to teach their clients about colorectal cancer and measures they can take to prevent it.
This young barber is co-owner of Brothers and Sisters Unix Salon—a barbershop/hair salon that also acts as a food pantry; a dream inspired by his grandmother. In hopes of making the community a better place for his own children, Reynolds is always coming up with new ways to help those around him. He’s transformed the shop into a Halloween haunted house, handed out Thanksgiving dinners to those in need, and organized events to help families send their kids back to school. Devon constantly inspires those around him with his generosity and eagerness to help.
While Black barbers give back to their communities through the comradery they share with clients, these few individuals are going the extra mile. All three of these men embody what it means to be selfless, and they demonstrate why barbershops and beauty salons are considered a cornerstone of the African-American community.