TUCSON, Ariz. — Protests across the country and here in Tucson over the death of George Floyd is sparking conversations about racism and some of those conversations are happening at black-owned barbershops.
Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sam Longmire says he enjoys spending time at Tommie’s Barber and Beauty at 3400 East Speedway because it’s a safe space to connect with the community.
“I love coming down here the comradery is tremendous. I want to be a part of the barbershop my brother has been cutting hair here for 60 years and Tommie is like family,” Longmire said.
Owner Tommie Clardy Jr. says you can also always stop by his shop and catch the buzz of what’s happening on the street. The death of George Floyd is one of the biggest topics of discussion at the shop and Longmire agrees.
“It’s a tough time but our young people are stepping up and letting everybody know there’s a problem that’s been going on for 400 years. We talk about it 24-7 about what’s going on with the protests. What hasn’t been done and what our leaders are saying and not saying,” Clardy said.
“That affected me so deeply that’s terrible,” Longmire said
Clardy also says talking to your kids about navigating encounters with police is an unfortunate but a necessary and everyday part of black life.
“My mom raised me she said Tommie you’re small and light-skinned police won’t really bother you. My son is 6’2. I raised him to be aware that people will identify or stereotype you from the average person,” Clardy said
Meanwhile, 80-year old barber Alvin Longmire believes that social media is one of the keys to help level the playing field for people of color in our society.
“Things are different you have more police different tactics,” Longmire said.
So if you’re up for a good chat Tommie’s Barber and Beauty is open for everyone to listen and learn.
“Our shop is extremely diverse we don’t have any problems everybody loves each other over here. If you give love, people love you back. Be honest and be who you are,” Clardy said.
Link to barbershop. https://tommiesbarberbeauty.com/ [tommiesbarberbeauty.com]