Powerful video series sheds light on the challenges black men have with shaving

Walker & Company's Mirror campaign sheds light on stigmas men of color share around shaving.  (Photo: Getty Images)
Walker & Company’s Mirror campaign sheds light on challenges men of color have with shaving. (Photo: Getty Images)

Most men shave in the comfort of their homes and don’t think twice about it. For men of color, many rely on professional barbers to get the job done. Now there’s a campaign shedding light on the challenges black men have with shaving, and it’s definitely a topic worth talking about.

Launched by Walker & Company, Bevel Mirrors is a video series highlighting 10 men of color from different walks of life and the realities and emotions they have experienced with shaving. Many of the topics addressed have never been mentioned in mainstream media or other grooming conversations — until now, through this empowering project.

All of the men were asked to look in the mirror and tell their shaving stories, which is a captivating way to present their experiences. The introductory video begins with a few of the men, including Walker & Co. founder and CEO Tristan Walker, sharing their truth on core values taught to them at an early age.

“There are a lot of stereotypes that come with being a black man, especially in America,” one participant says. Walker later adds, “Teaching ourselves the right way to do things, that’s been a bit of the story my entire life.” Another chimes in with, “Many black men are afraid to ask questions. You’re taught to kind of be a man pretty early on in life. You should have the answers.”

Model Broderick Hunter, actor Michael Oloyede, and venture capitalist Richard Kerby are among the other men featured in the project.

As the video continues, each of the men reveal difficulties they’ve encountered while shaving. Responses include: being afraid to shave because of the discomfort and physical scarring caused by razors, experiencing shaving as a daily indignity that physically stresses the skin, and learning how to shave from their mothers because a father figure wasn’t in the household. One guy remembers his mom saying, “Don’t shave, because it’s going to be a pain in the a**.”

But there are also empowering sentiments, such as having more control over one’s self-expression through shaving and being able to view their hair as their “crowns.”

The idea behind the Bevel Mirrors campaign was initially sparked by Walker recognizing he wasn’t the only man of color suffering with the experience of shaving. “Most men who look like me grow up scared of razors,” Walker tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “The fear of bumps runs deep. Some 80 percent of black men and women suffer from shaving irritation.”

Bevel, a popular men’s grooming company under Walker & Co., posted a casting call on Instagram for real-life Bevel users to participate — no models, no scripts, but real men telling their personal shaving stories.

Bevel Mirrors videographer and participant Jason Harper feels the experience was eye-opening and adds it feels good to know he wasn’t alone. “Men of color run into stigmas every day in society,” Harper tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Our behavior is often shaped by the way others perceive us, whether we’re keeping our hands out of our pockets in the store so no one thinks we’re stealing or keeping our distance from people at night so as not to appear threatening. Even those of us who do have fathers rarely figure out that our skin’s uniqueness isn’t a problem — it’s an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and view ourselves with dignity.”

The Bevel Mirrors project focuses on a much-needed conversation that will hopefully lead to ongoing dialogue and grooming education, as well as push the needle further toward making shaving for men of color less of a challenge and more of a celebration.

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