I Was In A Barbershop When I Heard About Kobe Bryant’s Passing And It Made Me Process His Death Differently

Written by on January 28, 2020

… as the slogan says, life comes at you fast. But for Black men, it hits us faster and with impeccably brutal precision.

Few moments in recent memory will pose as much public metaphysical discourse on the state of Black men in America as the untimely death of Kobe Bryant. And yet, there it was, a burning spiritual sensation piercing through many souls like a bullet through flesh that Sunday. For me, that was in the most conspicuously tender and appropriate of places for an event of that scale: a barber’s chair.

As the therapeutic scrape of blade on edges was near finality, the sudden word of Bryant’s death pierced calm “Holy Day” air in Black man’s sanctuary. Brothers jumped out of chairs in a quirky “oh s**t” chorus; girlfriends, wives and others were sending incomprehensible texts about rumors floating on Facebook, which we reflexively dismissed roundly as “fake news.” But, once the shop gained focus through several minutes of “this s**t can’t be happening,” the mood fell from somber to heartbreak. What followed was a surreal scene of Black men, most not knowing each other, staging a funeral over someone none of us shared direct personal contact with.

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