The Barbershop Experience

In African-American culture, the barbershop has long been called the “Black man’s country club” or the “hood’s social club.” No matter what we call it, it’s a place where different generations of men can share experiences, stories, and opinions.

Today, Black-owned barbershops play a central role in African American public life. The intimacy of commercial grooming encourages both confidentiality and camaraderie, which make the barber shop an important gathering place for African American men to talk freely.

But for many years preceding and even after the Civil War, Black barbers endured a measure of social stigma for perpetuating inequality: though the profession offered economic mobility to Black entrepreneurs, Black barbers were obliged by custom to serve an exclusively white clientele.

Fades & Fellowship, created by educator, author, and activist Dr. LaMarr Darnell Shields, tells the story of 13 professional barbers who explore and share with patrons (audience members) – through carefully crafted, unscripted narratives that are at the same time intentional and raw – insights, debates, and reflections gleaned from all the conversations that have graced their shops over the years.

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