Fade And A Shave: Inside Philly’s Black Barbershops

 
Editor’s Note: During the months leading up to the 2016 Presidential election, Hidden City contributor Theresa Stigale lead a team of volunteer photographers from the Philadelphia Photo League to document nearly 40 Black-owned barbershops around the city. The project was part of a voter education initiative of Sharp Insight, a Knight Foundation-funded program established to increase civic engagement and improve the quality of life in Philadelphia’s African American neighborhoods.

Sharp Insight offers resources and training to barbers, specifically encouraging them to discuss important topics with customers: employment opportunities, housing assistance, and GED programs, with the emphasis during the 2016 election on voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts. The program was founded by Duerward “Woody” Beale, director of YOACAP (Youth Outreach Adolescent Community Awareness Program.) YOACAP partnered with Power 99FM and IHeartMedia Philadelphia, which contributed classroom space, air-time, and exposure to a large audience.

Barber shops have a long, rich tradition as a gathering place for socializing and public discourse among black men. Barbers play a key role as neighborhood public figures who offer services in a welcoming and safe communal space, while sharing news, commentary, advice, and insight. The majority of barbers who participate in the Sharp Insight program are established community leaders who coach sports teams, mentor kids, and organize food and school supply drives.

Step inside Philly’s Black barbershops with photographer Theresa Stigale and take a seat.

About the author

Theresa Stigale was born and raised in Southwest Philly. She earned a B.B.A. from Temple University in 1983. Theresa is a photographer as well as a licensed Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker, developer and instructor. In the past ten years, she has documented the loft conversion projects that she and her partners have completed in Philadelphia, from stately old abandoned warehouses covered with graffiti to vintage factories, some still active with manufacturing. Visit her web site at TheresaStigalePhotography.com.

Send a message!



7 Comments


  1. Nicely done! @ stage4images.com

  2. Well done Theresa.

  3. This was a wonderful contribution. The first time I saw a Tonsorial Parlor as a kid was on Ridge Avenue in what you would today call Sharswood. I always wanted to check one out, but, sadly, didn’t. After viewing your excellent pictorial essay, I may have to go now. Too bad I no longer have enough hair to matter.

  4. larryisard@gmail.com

    Photos and article are just terrific! Thank you.

  5. Where are these shops? I need one that can/will do a fade for a woman

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
New Museum In The Works For America's First Male Saint

New Museum In The Works For America’s First Male Saint

January 18, 2019  |  News

The Shrine of St. John Neumann on Girard Avenue is a melting pot brimming with religious devotion. It's also a destination for curious tourists looking to get a glimpse of the saint's body enshrined in a glass casket. A museum dedicated to the life and work of the famed Philadelphia bishop will open this spring. John Henry Scott has the story > more

Op-ed: Balance Lost Buildings With Those Saved In 2018

Op-ed: Balance Lost Buildings With Those Saved In 2018

January 15, 2019  |  Soapbox

Paul Steinke of the Preservation Alliance offers a counterpoint to our Lost Buildings of 2018 list with this opinion piece > more

Jefferson Makes Room For Modernism With New Preservation Program

Jefferson Makes Room For Modernism With New Preservation Program

January 4, 2019  |  News

Jefferson University brings Modernist architecture to the forefront with their new historic preservation program and center for studies. Michael Bixler has the news > more

House Museum In North Philly Plans Monument For Former Slave

House Museum In North Philly Plans Monument For Former Slave

January 3, 2019  |  Vantage

Stenton, the former plantation house in Logan, prepares to honor Dinah with their new project, Inequality in Bronze. Keshler Thibert has the details > more

Lost Buildings of 2018

Lost Buildings of 2018

December 27, 2018  |  News

Philadelphia's preservation crisis reached a critical high in 2018 with a record-breaking number of demolition permits approved by the City. Here we highlight some of the biggest loses to our built environment in our annual end-of-year list > more

Having A Good One This Holiday Season In Philadelphia

Having A Good One This Holiday Season In Philadelphia

December 21, 2018  |  Last Light

Seasons Greetings from Hidden City! Michael Bixler dives deep into the archives and brings back a bounty of Philly holiday cheer > more