WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — For decades, barbershops have provided more than haircuts to black communities working for social change. It’s no different today.
After a weekend of protests in South Florida, residents are more unified and ready to see and make change.
At Sophisticated Barbershop in West Palm Beach, you can expect a tight fade and a hard dose of reality.
“When you’re not compliant, law enforcement comes with aggressive actions,” said Jerond Harriston, a barber at Sophisticated Barbershop. “Guess what, ‘[law enforcement] is not being compliant, so we need to be more aggressive.”
Harriston’s client, 17-year-old Daquon Barnes, said the recent protests are synonymous with the type of social change he learned about in school that’s leaped out of the history books.
“It’s boiled over. The anger and rage in people has kind of come out,” said Barnes.
In fact, many protesters are part of a national call for ending systemic and institutionalized racism and police brutality are fueling a younger generation of proponents like Barnes.
He already has aspirations to become a U.S. marshal.
“I honestly want to help the community and take as many bad guys off the road as possible,” Barnes said.
Opinions vary at Headliners Barbershop in Riviera Beach where there’s talk of unified boycotts and more protests to keep positive change moving.
”[Derek Chauvin] putting his knee down on [George Floyd’s] neck — that was a symbol of him holding us down and standing on our neck. We can’t breathe,” said DeAndre Span, Headliners Barbershop customer. “We’re going to breathe now.”
The takeaway from visits to neighborhood hubs was when it comes to social change “silence equals consent.”