The Barbershop Stories: Narratives of Health and Illness of African American Men in the Black Barbershop

Olga Davis, Professor, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication

The lived experience of African American men and the prominence of the Black Barbershop in African American culture, together offer a unique and compelling backdrop for examining discourses of health in Black communities. This proposed project illuminates the space of the barbershop into an intersectional dynamic of men and health; and the innovative approach of Black barbers as community health advocates and health navigators. Central to this project is narrative; a way of seeing the cultural dimensions of a people who, through community-based, culturally-grounded efforts, find innovative ways of redefining a culture of health that envisions non-traditional systems of health by the people, and for the people. Through story, we capture the meaning of health, its relationship to community, and the transformative power of understanding, knowledge, and trust developed between barbers and their customers.

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