You Next: Reflections in Black Barbershops

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“A stirring work . . . images meet text to convey a most handsome portrait of Black barbering in America as a revered cultural practice. Honest, intelligent, poignant—You Next is brilliant from cover to cover.” —Maurice Wallace, Rutgers University

An intimate photographic exploration of the ways Black barber shops operate as sites for the cultivation of Black male identity and wellness 

Growing up, getting a haircut was a weekly event Antonio M. Johnson looked forward to more than anything. There in that tilted chair surrounded by members of his community and totems of a shared experience, Johnson felt safe—felt like anything was possible.

Barber shops are more than places simply to get a cut. They are where Black men can speak and receive feedback about who we are, who we want to be, and what we believe to be true about the world around us. The interpretation of the barber shop as community center falls short of capturing what they really are for so many Black men: sanctuaries in a hostile land.

You Next is an intimate photographic exploration of Black barber shops in major US cities—Gary, Indiana; Washington DC; New York City; Oakland; Atlanta; Los Angeles; Detroit; New Orleans; Montgomery; Memphis, and Johnson’s hometown of Philadelphia.

These photos, interviews, and essays tell the full story of the Black barber shop in America. 

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