Red’s Groomed Man, the online product store of Red’s Creative Kutz Barber Shop, located on Wadsworth Avenue in Mount Airy, kicked-off BROVEMBER last month, which is set to end Nov. 19.
The online grooming shop is encouraging Black men to grow out their beards to save another Black man’s life. For every beard product sold during BROVEMBER, Red’s Groomed Man will donate $5 towards The Black Brain Campaign. The campaign, founded by Farida E. Boyer and Jaynay C. Johnson, aims to eradicate the stigma of mental health in the Black community.
“I truly believe that there’s not a family that does not have someone that’s affected by mental health. Whether it’s friends or family, you know someone who’s going through it,” said Keith Gee, owner of Red’s Creative Kutz.
Tiffany Bellamy founder of Red’s Groomed Man started BROVEMBER in partnership with Red’s Creative Kutz to start the conversation about mental health among African-Americans in urban communities.
“The purpose of BROVEMBER is to strike a conversation about men growing their beards,” she said. “When men grow their beards it’s always a conversation starter that says ‘Oh, why did you decide to grow your beard? What’s that about?’ The idea is to have them respond and say ‘Hey, we’re growing our beards in support of BROVEMBER to raise awareness about mental health issues in our community.
“We’ve all had that one crazy uncle in our family, when in fact he had a mental health problem that needed to be addressed,” Bellamy said. She noted mental health is prevalent in the Black community and isn’t discussed.
“It’s about making mental health conversations normal,” Bellamy said. “People shouldn’t cringe about talking about mental health. It should be a normal conversation.”
She believes the killings and shootings that occur in the Black community can be attributed to mental health and is often labeled as “something that happens in our community.” According to Mental Health America, African-Americans make up 13.2% of the U.S. population and over 16% have been diagnosed with a mental illness.
Gee uses products from the Red’s Groomed Men to start mental health conversations with customers. He admits not all customers are interested in having talks about mental health at first but the products, especially the Beard Soap initiates the conversation. After Gee introduces the products he then explains BROVEMBER to his clients.
“A lot of people are going through mental health issues and they don’t even know,” he said.