When my maternal grandfather died, a stream of men came to pay their respects to my grandmother and mother. The men cried as if they had lost their own father, and in a way they had.
My grandfather was a barber: keeper of secrets, dispenser of advice and a great listener to creative storytellers.
He also engendered trust. Men would come and sit in his chair, confident that their hair would be just right by the time he handed them a mirror and spun them around to see the back as well as the front. Not only did they come back to Granddaddy regularly, they brought in their sons and often dropped in for conversation, even when they didn’t need a haircut.
For generations, being taken by one’s father for that first haircut and being introduced to the fraternity found at barbershops has been a highly anticipated Right-of-Passage.
“It’s that intimate a relationship. It’s not all about the cut; it’s also about the relationship,” said Kenneth Braswell, director of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees President Obama’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative and has launched Fatherhood Buzz, an eight-city pilot outreach program designed to disseminate information about responsible fatherhood and parenting.
Fatherhood Buzz will kick off Saturday at more than 100 barbershops in eight cities: Albany, N.Y., Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and after this weekend will expand to Baltimore, Boston and Wilmington, Del., and other cities.
Braswell told BlackAmericaWeb.com barbershops were targeted because they are natural community hubs that bring together men from all walks of life, “from the pastor of the church around the corner to the thug coming to get sharp because he’s gonna hang out all night, all hanging out in the barbershop in harmony.”
Conversations range from last night’s game to employment to relationships to fatherhood.
“When I go to the barber, he asks ‘How’s the wife? How’s the kids? How’s that project?’ It’s someone you know every two weeks you’re going to see. (And) If it’s a hot enough conversation, then the rest of the barbershop gets involved,” Braswell said.
Fatherhood Buzz aims to take what’s already familiar to men one step further.
“There are some key conversations that always come up,” Braswell said. “Child support, not the mechanics…it’s always around the pain of it. When that comes up the program will make sure that barbers are more equipped to provide information that can help (customers) navigate the system, explain what child support is really being used for. The work is about helping men, but ultimately the work is about the healthy environment for children.”
Braswell said the focus of the Buzz will change quarterly. For the program’s launch, the emphasis is on economic stability and parenting, but future topics could be education, substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, relationships or marriage.
On Saturday, in addition to discussions about responsible fatherhood, there will be giveaways, networking opportunities and information about local and national resources will be distributed.
Shop owners can sign up for Fatherhood Buzz at www.fatherhoood.gov or by calling 1-877-4DAD411 (1-877-432-3411) for parenting tips, parenting programs and additional resources.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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