The Chop Shop: Blackish

The “chop shop” is a slang term for the barbershop in the black community. In this episode of Blackish, Dre takes his two sons to the barbershop and expects them to respect and honor the unwritten codes of the barbershop. One unwritten codes is to never switch barbers because it’s a breach of loyalty. The oldest son, Jr. breaks this code by going to a young barber to cut his hair instead of the family’s usual barber, T. Jackson.  T is older and he is not a great of a barber as he used to be. Because Dre is trying to be loyal he let’s T. cut his hair and T. messes up his hairline multiple times. Dre eventually becomes frustrated with people making fun of his hair so he goes to another barber.

The point in all of this was that Dre wanted to teach his sons about the importance of the barbershop. He wanted his sons to follow this rule of conduct so that they would be accepted in this community and follow the tradition. In the barbershop scene when Jr. decided he wants to go with the new guy, Dre goes over to T. and explains that the “subruban life” is the reason that Jr. doesn’t know the code of conduct, and T. whispers to him to “whoop” Jr. when he gets home. This is because T. is apart of an older generation that used that as a way of disciplining children. Although Dre does scold Jr. he does not hit him.

Going to the barbershop and communicating with other men that can relate to you is important to Dre because he does live in suburbia and it’s not as familiar to him as the barbershop. With Jr. and Jack going to be barbershop is not as familiar to them because all they know is suburbia. The children especially Jr. have to adapt to this culture. In Scripting the Black Masculine Body, by Jackson, R.L.,says that, “having one’s manhood co-extensively and relationally validated by one’s community…functions along the borders between himself and others to achieve desired ends (p. 133, 2006)”. Since going to the barbershop is apart of the manhood of a black man Jr. and Jack have to have a loyalty to the community other wise it is a breach of manhood. When Jr. decided he was going to break the code the whole community was in uproar because that is not how they do things and his manhood was in question because no one else did that. In the end Dre respected his decision as a man to make his own choices and Dre followed suit by going to his own barber.

Barris, K. (Writer) (2015). Chop Shop (Season 2 Episode 8). Blackish. Location: ABC Studio.

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