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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.


In LEVEL. More on Medium.

I found freedom in my pandemic-era hair journey

Photos courtesy of author.

These days, you’ll find a vast selection of hair products inside my bathroom cabinet. Bottles and jars, big and small, lined up side by side like soldiers. It’s funny to think one year ago I wasn’t even aware of some of my essentials, like Originals Hair Mayonnaise and Shea Moisture’s enhancing cream. I had no clue about the cost of growing and maintaining my hair. Everything changed when salons and barbershops closed at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the midst of those dire times, I finally decided to take my haircare into my own hands.

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

The Official NBA Hair Power Ranking 2021

Forget the playoff race; this is the only power ranking that matters

Last July, the NBA set up shop in Orlando to close out the 2019–2020 season in an isolated zone at Walt Disney World. Within that bubble, the 22 teams competing for a championship had a wealth of amenities at their disposal, from fishing and films to bowling and boating. But while the coronavirus forced the rest of us to self-groom our quarantine hair situations, the bubble ballers enjoyed one of the most clutch perks of all: not one, not two, but three on-campus barbershops, all open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

As my hair grew, so did my activism

The author at 5 years old. Photo courtesy of the author.

Thuggish. Immature. Unprofessional.

My Blackness put me in a position to been seen as inhuman — and my Americanness forced me to accept it

A Black man running his hand through his hair.
A Black man running his hand through his hair.
Photo: Eric Raptosh Photography/Getty Images

I last got my hair cut in March 2018, one and a half years before I first began my four-month stay in Vietnam. My hair is coarse and nappy. It’s untamed and sprawls out everywhere, but I like it that way because it lets me accept my Blackness in its natural state.

Just Rankin’ Sh!t

No, you’re self-conscious. You are.

Photo: jazzmxx/Getty Images

5. They got dookie in ’em

You’ve seen the science abstracts and reports that beards have something called “fecal matter” in them. You know what that is? Dookie balls! All up in your beard. Wanna rub a man’s beard? Might as well rub it with Charmin because there’s poop all up in there. I’m choosing not to grow a beard because I don’t want dookie all up on my face.

4. They’re for liars

Who in the pre-Covid world would go outside hiding their faces besides Batman, bank robbers, and ninjas? Exactly. Beards are, by nature, dishonest. They tell the world that you don’t want people to see the full…

The Ultimate Guide to Black Men’s Hair

When a haircut feels like the opposite of self-care, follow these steps

Illustration: Kingsley Nebechi

The second season of Atlanta, subtitled “Robbin’ Season,” captured a distinct type of psychological horror: the larceny of life itself. Throughout the season, the main characters of the Donald Glover-created FX comedy were relieved of their time, their dignity, and their sense of physical safety. But the most distressing episode wasn’t the Teddy Perkins experience, Earn’s managerial shortcomings, or Alfred’s traumatic venture into the woods — it was a routine trip to the barbershop.

Just Rankin’ Sh!t

I got a new look and my White co-workers couldn’t contain themselves

Photo: aedkais/Getty Images

6. “Wow, I didn’t even recognize you!”

Really, Dan? Of all of my identifying features — not to mention the full name that appears on my Zoom window — you were confused as to who I am? I’m still me… just with slightly less hair. Relax.

5. “I wish my hair could do that!”

I assume that this underwhelming compliment is delivered with genuine admiration. Thing is, aside from further othering me in an environment where I’m already a minority, I don’t think White folks truly grasp the beautiful struggle that comes with these coils. (Ingrown hairs — ever heard of ’em?)

4. “You got a haircut… again?”

Yes, again. And a shape-up a week later, followed by another cut one…

Longtime X-Clusive barber Ricardo Benoit prepares a customer for a haircut. Photos: Sean Pressley

Crown Heights mainstay X-Clusive is back handing out fresh cuts — masked, gloved, and by appointment only

Buzz. Buzz. Door opening. Door closing. Feet shuffling. Buzz. Buzz.

Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Don’t call it a comeback. They been hair for years.

Photo illustration. Source: Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

6. LeBron James

Granted, his hairline has a tendency to ebb and flow like a California shoreline. But Bron has come a long way since the gigantic headbands — even if he required more help than those early Cavs rosters.

5. Jamie Foxx

Even Ray Charles — and your average doctor — could see how this legendary actor got his hairline back to full strength.

3. Tory Lanez and Tyga (Tie)

Shoutout to Craig L. Ziering, MD, for helping quell two ever-growing foreheads.

2. Jay-Z

When God was pouring gifts into humans, he gave Jay-Z too much sauce. Arguably the GOAT of rap, he also found himself with a beautiful superstar wife and hair…

The Ultimate Guide to Black Men’s Hair

After a life of stressing my hairline and waves, I found liberation and power in its unapologetic Blackness

Photos courtesy of the author

You never forget that first pang of rejection. It’s a feeling akin to taking a medicine ball to the chest, a slap of rubbing alcohol on a freshly cut neckline. You know the vibes. And if you’d regularly rode the yellow bus to my elementary school back in ’92, you would’ve had a front-row seat for my earliest humbling.


Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

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