Barbershop Talks at Fresno State letting men have unique conversations

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Junior Ballard is a member of the Barbershop Talks at Fresno State.

The discussion group offers a safe space for men of color to talk about world issues.

"The barbershop talks help us be comfortable in our skin, not having to hide who we are or hide our culture," Ballard said.

The support group was started a year ago by Ramar Henderson, a professor and faculty member at Fresno State.

Although haircuts are not a part of the sessions, the group aims to re-create the ambiance of a barbershop.

"The barbershop is a very important component of the Black community," Dr. Henderson said. "You understand Black beauty, you are able to have discussions on who is the best NBA player to political views."

Barbershop Talks started virtually during the pandemic.

Dr. Henderson says spaces like these don't really exist, but the growth it has seen in the last year shows there is a need.

"Fresno State is growing in that regard, as it pertains to hiring more faculty and black staff and having more resources that explicitly address the need of black students, specifically our males," he said.

Although the group is intentional in discussions around black culture, it is an open space for all men to join.

"In addition to Black men coming in, we have brown men coming in, Southeast Asian men come in to participate in the discussion," Dr. Henderson said.

The group meets every Thursday at Noon at Fresno State's Cross-Cultural Gender Center.
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