by Brian Egeston
We have a saying here at Barbershop Digest. Once we’re ready to do something, after we’ve pondered and repondered the repercussions, then it’s time to “pull the trigger.”
When we pull the trigger, things usually happen in a big way and we typically get big results. Well, we pulled the trigger on the first issue of Barbershop Digest and there was some initial recoil from the firepower. It seems some people have taken issue with the fact that we put presidential hopeful Barack Obama on the cover with the provocative caption “Please don’t kill this man.” An old Black lady called to cuss me out over the caption. It’s not that I have a problem with old Black ladies cussing me out. I’ve had that all my life.
The issue I have is that people pretend as though this subject is not in the minds of many. Look, this is the Barbershop Digest. We talk about what’s being talked about in the shop. And in the 50 barbershops I’ve visited in the past month, they’re talking about Obama staying alive.
More to that point is the realization that the article is not about Obama being assassinated. It’s about Black folks killing his chances at winning the presidency. It’s my contention, that the people who won’t read the article because of the title, may be the ones we’re talking about in the article who may not vote or who may not be registered to vote.
I hate to think that the old theory is true: If you want to hide something from a Black person, put it in a newspaper. We put Obama’s platform inside the pages of Barbershop Digest and some folks didn’t read it. Unfortunate.
I began to think that I was over the top with the front-page caption. But then I went into the sanctuary and began asking around. The sanctuary being the Black barbershops. And brothers are genuinely afraid that someone will try something stupid if Obama is elected president.
I consulted with media consultant, Lance Robertson who's a Georgia resident and managing director of Robertson Media Group. He’s seen the good, bad and ugly during his more than 25 years involvement in American politics through organizations such as the Young Democrats.
“The young bright African-American minds have embraced [Obama],” said Robertson. “I think the older African-American minds have yet to embrace him, because for some reason they think he hasn’t paid his dues.” Look to his left and look to his right,” says Robertson. “He is as Black as they get when you compare him to the people he’s running against. Obama’s campaign has been able to connect with the forward thinking masses,” Robertson explained.
Then Robertson and I got into the nitty gritty. I asked if an assassination attempt is a serious concern or has America moved on from that?
“It’s a serious concern,” Robertson said. “If you look back at the history of who killed JFK, those powers that be are stilled around…There’s no way the powers that be will let [Obama] win, if they don’t feel comfortable with him in office.”
Robertson is not the only one who shares this concern. While out visiting barbershops, there was almost a moment of silence when we walked in with the magazine. Whatever was being talked about turned quickly to Barack Obama and how we could keep him alive.
And last, I’ve had several comments from readers who say they are voting for the first time and people who want to finally register to vote. That’s what’s going on the shop, that’s what folks are talking about.
Let us hear what you’ve got to say.