In the Black community, it is well known that the barbershop is much more than a place where you get your haircut. It represents a location within the community that is used to disseminate information, share insight and foster camaraderie. Behind the buzzing of clippers and the snipping of scissors, barbering remains one of the most respected professions in the Black community. We stopped by K.O.’S barbershop in Matteson, lllinois, to gain some insight from the barbers and a few tips on male grooming. Check out what they had to say.
Wu the Barber has been in the profession for over 20 years. He says he was coaxed into the profession because a few kids in the neighborhood needed to get a haircut and they went to him because he could draw amazing designs. He incorporated this skill and it has sustained him for over two decades. We queried Wu about the most rewarding thing about being a barber. “When you cut a kid’s hair and the kid comes back and he brings his family and tells me that I used to cut his hair when he was a kid. To see a positive member of society come back to you with his family and realize that he was listening to you when you thought you were not effective is a great feeling. Being a barber allows me to talk to more people than the average person,” he said.
We also spoke with Doc the Barber, who has been a barber for 10 years. He mentioned that many people think that barbers can’t dress, but he says that is far from the truth. We asked Doc to share some grooming tips for men when it comes to fashion.”You want your attire to be neat, matching and have style. The haircut is the number one thing, keeping your nails clean and a nice cologne always helps. A man should visit his barber once a week, a child should go once every two weeks.”
Doc mentioned different hair textures can sometimes present difficulty, but there is not a cut that he won’t do. Doc says the sponge look, the nappy neat look and tapers are ver popular now. He recommends Dr. Miracle’s for people with dandruff and dry hair. If you are running low on funds he recommends olive oil for your hair. Becoming a licensed barber is hard work and takes 1,500 hours of training, Wu and Doc both recommend going full time. If you are able to go full time, it will take about nine months to become licensed.
With 30 years of experience between them, it is no surprise why they are well respected pillars of their community. They work hard every day helping people feel better about themselves from the inside out.
Take a look at a few pics below.