Inside the World of Black Hair: Significance of Style in the African American Community

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In the African American community, barbershop and salons are a center of cultural expression. In a series this week we're taking you inside the world of black hair to learn more about the significance of style in the black community.

A fresh haircut can make anyone feel great but, for black men, hair has traditionally signified a lot more than just good grooming.

William Jones is a man that is known throughout Charlottesville for his craftsmanship. You don't have to see him to recognize his line up on someone in town. A line up, or shape up, is where you get the perimeter of your hairline neatly shaped with clippers.

Many black men say they feel their hair is the first thing people see and the texture or style could lead people to draw conclusions.

“When I was younger we were much more into playing a game and looking how society wanted us to look,” said Jones. “We kept our hair cut really short, we did bald fades, we did whatever we could do to not be scary."

But, Jones says times are changing with dreads, cornrows, and more facial hair all becoming more prevalent. “It feels like, as I grew up, culture started to become a little bit more rebellious.”

In the next part of our series on Tuesday, we talk about how black barbers say their businesses are some of the only places in America to have been excluded from price hyperinflation.