Black and Bearded in the Classroom (pt. 2)

 "Got Beard" Drawstring Bag on sale now!   C lick here to purchase

"Got Beard" Drawstring Bag on sale now! 

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Continuing our exposure of black men with beards in the classroom, we'd like you to meet Jeffrey Clark, Jr. of New Orleans, LA and Adrian Hoquee of Cambridge, MA. It's imperative we not only have the representation of black male educators, but also have men who wholeheartedly believe in their ability to lead knowing that educating our children is their calling. Teaching requires superhero levels understanding, compassion and patience; all qualities both Mr. Clark and Mr. Hoquee exhibit in the classroom daily.

 Mr. Clark  New Orleans, LA  Grade Level: 6th   Tenure: 5 years 

Mr. Clark

New Orleans, LA

Grade Level: 6th 

Tenure: 5 years 

 

 

 

Mr. Clark-

I honestly became a teacher because I love children. I have been working with children since I was 17. I’ve been a camp counselor, baseball/softball coach, tutor and so much more. Also, it’s in my families blood I was born to be and educators and help others.  

What helped me remain an educator are the kids I teach everyday. Being from New Orleans and helping my community better themselves through a much needed avenue like education brings joy to my heart everyday. It is important to have black male educators in this world is because the youth today need to see someone that looks just like them. 

I believe my leadership and high expectations I set are two of my most effective areas as an educator. Everyday I step in the classroom, I give and demand 100% not only from myself but from students to try the best that they can and set themselves apart from their classmates. That’s why I call my homeroom Spelhouse [Morehouse/Spelman] because it takes a strong special person to be apart of that legacy, and if you can uphold that standard that was given to me I know they will be successful.
— Jeffery Clark, Jr.

Mr. Hoquee-

 Mr. Hoquee  Cambridge, Ma  Grade Level: 8th  Subject: Math  Tenure: 7 years 

Mr. Hoquee

Cambridge, Ma

Grade Level: 8th

Subject: Math

Tenure: 7 years 

My decision to become an educator was inspired by a desire to have a greater impact in the development of young people. After graduating college, I worked closely with a college access program and quickly grew tired of playing an ancillary role in the academic and social maturation of my students -- students I genuinely came to love, root, and advocate for in all areas of life. As an underprivileged youth growing up in Toronto and Brooklyn, I was fortunate to have had people who took a vested interest in my development both in and out of classroom; the prospect of playing a similar role in the lives of students of truly inspired me.   

While the journey has been anything but easy, I remain an educator today for many of reasons that motivated me nine years to pursue a graduate degree in education. I see (authentic) teaching and learning as a transformative act that has the ability to change the trajectory of students' lives. Despite the current state of affairs in the U.S. public education system, I remain hopeful that we will figure it out -- and begin to prioritize the academic and social development of ALL children.

I take great pride in my ability to not only connect with young minds, but also to motivate them to give their best daily. Without relationships, my role as a classroom teacher would be exponentially harder. People crave connection and students are no different. While I take my role as teacher of mathematics seriously, I believe fostering an classroom environment where students feel seen and heard — and are empowered to be themselves — is just as important as teaching content. It is through these connections that we are able to inspire and motivate students to reach beyond their grasp.
— Adrian Hoquee

Black and Bearded in the Classroom

Being a teacher is probably one of the most underpaid yet rewarding careers there is. Think about it; our school aged children will spend more hours out of their days with those who teach them than they do their parents. Having black male teachers in academia other than sports and physical education provides a beacon of hope for the children they teach. These men stand in as father figures, big brothers, and best friends. School sometimes is the one place a student has any peace and someone who understands them.

Over the next few days we'll be sharing with you some of those superheros we more commonly call teacher. We'd like to start by introducing you to Patrick Hill, Jr. of New Orleans and Jake Anthony of Houston. These southern gentlemen, black men with beards teach our youth two of the most important subjects in education - math and language arts. These educators come with just as much drip (isn't that what the kids are calling style these days) as the students favorite celebrities and entertainers, looking like them relating to their struggles because they come from it. They are everyday living proof to these kids that you can make it pass your block. You can be cool and educated with standards higher for yourself than society would like you to believe. 

 Mr. Hill  New Orleans, LA  Grade Level: High School  Subject: Math  Tenure: 4 years

Mr. Hill

New Orleans, LA

Grade Level: High School

Subject: Math

Tenure: 4 years

Mr. Hill:

I came into the school system as a member of the discipline team. After being there for almost a month there were several classes without a teacher. I spoke to administrators about what I noticed and asked to teach the Math classes that were vacant. Honestly, it’s the most rewarding work I’ve done. It’s different every day. It’s also both intellectual and personal/emotional work. By "intellectual" I mean not only knowing my subjects, but also determining the best way to teach something, given the students in the room, their abilities, interests, and needs. By "emotional/personal," I mean that connections are hugely important in teaching.

I noticed that my mere presence makes a difference to the students I teach. I’m a black man with dreadlocks and a beard. The moment I set foot in the classroom, I instantly show the possibilities available to them. Being from New Orleans, and not too far removed from the culture allows me to reach students more effectively. If there’s a concept that’s difficult to comprehend, I would use real world situations and it instantly gives the kids access to ideas they had never heard explained in a language they understand.
— Patrick Hill
 Mr. Anthony   Houston, TX  Grade Level: 6th  Subject: Language Arts  Tenure: 6 years

Mr. Anthony 

Houston, TX

Grade Level: 6th

Subject: Language Arts

Tenure: 6 years

Mr. Anthony:

During my first year of teaching, I thought about quitting every single day. I stuck with it through the very early mornings, the low pay and the freezing cold (I was teaching in Akron, Ohio). The students' behavior was terrible throughout much of the year. Because of lesson plans, communicating with all of the parents' and professional development training that I had to attend, I was beyond exhausted. Most night I'd be lucky to sleep 5 hours. Needless to say, I was on the verge of being unemployed, but then something happened. I was close to the end of the school year, so I decided to stay with it.

The last week of school, the student who had been my biggest problem all year surprisingly asked if he could speak with me after class. He explained to me what his life was like at home and it made sense why he had been acting out. In our meeting, he apologized and he let me know that if it wasn't for me, he wouldn't even come to school. He needed to know what he could be. Nobody had ever motivated him before, or told him that he was great and that he was going to be something. After seeing the 180 that he hit, I knew that I chose the right profession.

I feel that while I’m strong in all aspects of education, my ability to build rapport and relate to these kids is what brings everything full circle.  Once we build a trusting student/teacher relationship, it becomes so much easier to get through to them.  When they see my tattoos and my skin color mixed with the way I talk, they gravitate towards me. Being understanding also helps out a lot.  I let them know that I was the trouble maker, I had ADD to the point where I have to get up and move and that’s something they connect to. The students can see that I come from the same place they come from and I’m just trying to show them that black men can be successful too without rapping or playing ball.
— Jake Anthony

Plantation Cemetery Memorial Service written by Bristol Mayo

 Written by Bristol Mayo

Written by Bristol Mayo

DARROW, LA.-  “They tried to bury us, but did not know we were seeds”. In unmarked graves along the Mississippi River, slaves from the Monroe and Bruslie Plantations were scattered about the grounds, full of untold stories of strength, endurance, and hope. Beneath the Sugarcane fields and shade trees, they lay there waiting to be showered by the love of their descendants, searching for them through time. Listening to the call in their hearts and spirits to make the pilgrimage into the forgotten history of America and discover their tangible past. 

Kathe Hambrick, founder of the River Road African Burial Grounds Coalition, heeded that call, and the fruition of her efforts gathered descendants of Slaves and Slave Masters alike to Tezcuco Plantation, not far from the burial grounds. 

My God.

Here we were, on the lawn of the “Big House”, celebrating the lives of those Slaves cast aside by the indifference of the institution of slavery. Where our ancestors may not have been able to say the prayers, prepare their bodies, or show any emotion for their loss at all! The sentiment in that space danced from heart to heart, so new and vibrant! Like meeting a long lost family member for the first time. There are so many stories to share, so many songs to sing, and so much dancing to be done! Some attendees visited the burial site at dawn, following traditions and giving sacrifices to pay homage and prepare the spirits for the celebration to come. Maybe the Black people from long ago had to celebrate the life of the deceased in this manner, under the cover of darkness to protect their own lives. But when the light came, the drums announced the beginning of the ceremony, so that we could all get in rhythm with one another to lift this praise to our ancestors. We no longer had to suffer in secret! Negro Spirituals were sung in the way that has always brought us through our tough times. Libations were poured and The Elders lifted their voices as we sat in awe of their history. We brought our children to be a part of the story so that they could run into the future and carry word that the Ancestors actually existed! And in these hallowed grounds, they lay smiling, knowing that their efforts gave birth to the possibility of a better future. 

We mourned their suffering and sacrifice for us, understanding what they had to endure to give us this chance to honor them. The very wind and humidity graced us, just as it had the Slaves from the Plantations, and we made peace with the words we would never hear, the embraces we could never feel, from the names we may never know. Those things no longer mattered. Mrs. Hambrick and her team had given us the reality of our past. Folk tales and fireside stories became real history, and as we visited the Monroe Burial site, looking out over the Sugarcane I could see those Black faces toiling under the sun. Being there, in their space, was surreal. My strength was revived knowing that my people had already endured the worst, and their blood that courses through my veins is prepared for the fight forward. 

Bridging this gap in history is so important for the healing of the Black Community. Plantations can no longer be viewed as these monuments to the “Gallant South”. "A plantation was the scene of a crime against humanity, and there is nothing fine about owning people,” said Ingrid Palmquist, a descendant of the owners of Tezcuco Plantation and member of the River Road African Burial Grounds Coalition.

Historic discoveries such as this are ground breaking in the work of preserving a history meant to be forgotten. We do not mean to destroy what is known, but we have a right to our own past. And if the heavy weight of slavery continues to hang around the neck of America, unattended, we will all be choked to death under its weight. We must all breath in the truth of our history so that the stagnant stench of racism can be cleared from the air, and our ancestors can finally find peace in their rest. 

Ase! 

 Photography by Sugarcane Stills

Black Superhero Series 'Black Lightning' Ranks As the Highest Premiered Show On the CW In 2 Years

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After five decades as sidekicks, secondary characters and niche titles, the black superhero’s time has finally come. Timing could not be better in regards to the current and tense racial climate in America, because whether people like it not, we’re being forced to have a conversation and open dialogue about race relations across the world. Black Super Heroes aren’t anything new, but we haven’t seen one since Blade. Luke Cage and the eagerly anticipated Black Panther aren’t the only new super heroes on the block though; cue in Black Lightning and you have three major storylines centering what one would call Black Excellence in the comic book world in the last 18 months!

Jefferson Pierce, played by Cress Williams, has the power to control electricity and shoot lightning bolts from his hands. When Williams described Pierce, he is compared to Martin Luther King, but his alter ego Black Lightning is Malcolm X. “Non-violence is a great philosophy, and should always be the first resort, but sometimes you have to protect yourself. Sometimes you have to mess things up, be a little bit more active to get things done. The show hopefully poses that question.”

The show premiered on Tuesday, January 16th, bringing in huge numbers for The CW with a solid 0.8 rating among adults 18-49 and 2.3 million viewers. Will you be tuning in?

Holiday Gift Guide: 7 Amazing Gifts For An Amazing Man

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And it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! We just love this time of year, the holiday season puts us in such a merry and bright mood (insert cheesy smiley face emoji). It's also the time of year where we rack our brains trying to get that perfect Christmas gift for the special man in our lives. Parents and kids are easy for the most part but what do you get for your bearded bae? Don't bore this year's tree by putting the same old go to tie, cologne, or sweater under them. Put your man on to some new things! Raise the bar and change the game when it comes men's gifts. How do you do that, what do you do, what do you get? 

Black Men With Beards did a bit of the leg work for you and have put together a luxury gift guide: 7 Amazing Gifts For An Amazing Man.

1.  Nothing is sexier than a man who can cook! And if cooking isn't really his thing but you've been trying to get him in the kitchen more, help him out a bit by inspiring his pallet with a new cook book.  Chef Kenneth Temple released a cookbook just in time for  the holidays, Southern Creole - Recipes from My New Orleans Kitchen. There's so many delicious and easy to follow recipes in this book, no reason to ask what's for dinner in 2018. Cooking a meal together is also some sexy shit; spice of your life in more ways than one this holiday season!

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2.  If you care about that man and love his beard, get him a beard kit so he know it's real. All jokes aside, we have always expressed the importance of proper beard care and maintenance. This is the perfect gift for the bearded man who is too manly to up his product game. Nature Boy's Deluxe Beard Kit is packaged beautifully and comes with all the essentials to maintain a healthy flourishing beard. 

3. You can never go wrong with a nice timepiece as a Christmas gift. And it's always special when you can put him on to a new brand. There's nothing more classic than a chocolate leather band and big silver face. We particularly love this piece from Talley & Twine, its distinctive minimalist face trimmed in gold featuring the number seven (the number of divinity btw), makes it a great everyday wear piece.

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4. Whether he's a tech man or not this gift here is exciting, especially if he's a Google-gadget-smartphone kinda guy.  Making life easier the Google Home Mini is a must have gadget this holiday season. Completely control your house with voice activated AI functionality of Google Assistance. Ask almost any question and get it answered with the access to Google's massive wealth of knowledge, stream audio, video or images from your smart device, answer and end calls, even order a pizza from the bathroom (ok too comfortable maybe, but you get the point.) This is a cool fun tech gift indeed.   

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5. Gym bags are not for traveling. I repeat gym bags are not for traveling. Whether it's overnight or for the weekend, throwing your belongings in a sweaty gym bag days are long gone when there's some amazing manly duffle and traveling bags out there. We can't take our eyes off the Overnight Satchel in this muted green color from the design duo Want Les Essentials. This gift packs a pretty nice price tag so fellas if she gets you this, next trip is on you! 

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6. There comes a time when as a grown man you put away the sneakers and throw on the hard soles.  You don't go cheap on what you eat or what you put on your feet, especially when it comes to dress shoes. The Jon, equestrian inspired chocolate leather boots from Armando Cabral is sleek and classic. The design and quality screams distinguished gentleman. 

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7.  Beaded bracelets stacked with style are still all the rage when it comes to subtlety accessorizing a man. The sleek unique boldness of this Ryan G. holiday collection stack screams black, power, and king! 

Did we mention most of these brands are BOBs, and you know we love that! 'Tis the season for patronizing black owned businesses. 

The Gentlemen's 8

A gentleman is not defined by the content of his wallet or the cute of his suit. He is defined by his manners and the content of his character.

A true gentleman is a respectable thing to be. By definition, he's strong, chivalrous, intellectual and posses an impeccable sense of style with a calm demeanor - and we all know dressing well is a form of good manners. Well, we are beyond proud and excited to present to you eight of the most stylish distinguished gentlemen who will serve as NOIR event ambassadors as well as your host for the evening. Meet the G8


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A gentleman is a man who takes the initiative in noticing the details of his partner's expectations without instructions. 

Most memorable beard encounter:

"Had a lady literally come up and smell my beard as I gave her a hug. She wanted to see if I smelled as good as I looked she said."


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A gentleman in my eyes is someone who embodies masculinity while still being caring, compassionate, chivalrous and kind. 

Most memorable beard encounter:

"A woman came up to me and first apologized and then said she just had a not so PG-13 moment visual and that she needed to change her underwear."


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A gentleman is one who’s not afraid to be his true self, knowing that the full embodiment of his gifts and love for humanity will heal the world around him.

Most memorable beard encounter

"Meeting up with some of my bearded brothers in the NYC area for the first time and shooting a small campaign that would sweep social media. The most memorable part was the conversation, it was deep rooting in bettering our communities and adjusting how black men were viewed."


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A gentleman is a confident, intelligent thoughtful, respectful and insightful person who walks the world not only in style but In example.

Most memorable beard encounter:

"A young lady came to me once and rubbed her face on my face, haha! We laughed, and we actually went on some dates after."


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A gentleman is one who is smart, educated and very aware. He is one who takes care and provides for his family. A gentleman is one who takes pride in his appearance and pays great attention to details, and is well groomed. 

Most memorable beard encounter:

"Hahaha, I'd never forget!  While working at Coach, I had an elderly Asian man come up to me and rub my beard with both hands WITHOUT PERMISSION! Now although I was angry, he was elderly and also a tourist (he probably doesn't know our privacy standards) so I let it go and laughed it off. Lol!!!"


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A gentleman is a man who has confidence and respect in everything that he does, and carries himself with a certain mystique that everyone gravitates to and respects.

Most memorable beard encounter:

LOL! I think my most memorable beard encounter had to be about a few weeks ago. I was in DC sitting at a bar and the bartender kept bringing me drinks, and each time I kept telling her I didn’t order these. Well these drinks were bought for me from this table of women sitting across from me at another table. They really appreciated my beard, but were nervous to approach me, so they kept sending me drinks."


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A gentleman simply put is a man who is strong, intentional, thoughtful and aware of his power and position in his family , community and world around him.

Most memorable beard encounter:

"About a month ago I met a Canadian woman at a bar in Brooklyn who was very pleasant. We were standing outside waiting for her cab and we had a full 5-7 minutes session of her just intimately massaging and caressing the entirety of my beard. She had healing hands. The crazy thing is she derived more pleasure out of the experience than I did."


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A man who does not only exemplify visual traits that are becoming of a gentleman (good grooming habits, great posture, great clothing), but a man that has mastered himself, who leads by positive example, who is chivalrous to women, and a teacher to the youth and who collaborates with his fellow man.
 

Most memorable beard encounter:

"I was in Philadelphia for my first major modeling gig. All of the designers liked my look. But passed on me because of my beard. They said I should cut it, because beards are seen as rugged, messy & grungy. One stylist took a chance for me and had me walk in his show. He has used me in more campaigns that has gotten me great exposure. Since then I’ve been in 3 magazines, features in style & beard blogs, movies & Netflix series and even on BET."

 

Black Male Educators Are Necessary

 © Black Men With Beards 2017 //  Jeff Clark

© Black Men With Beards 2017 // Jeff Clark

When you think of late August and early September, a few things should come to mind; football, grilling out and back to school! For most children this is the time they get to reconnect with old friends and show off their new gear and parents are able to take the lock off the refrigerator and save a little money. This is the time where students are able to start fresh and refocus on their academic goals and teachers are there to educate and guide them in the right direction.

Guilford County is just one of 100 counties in the state of North Carolina. Within the last few years North Carolina has witnessed educators go on strike due to budget cuts that would froze any raises on teacher pay and eliminated the majority of teacher assistants. According to the National Education Association report, during that time N.C ranked 47th in the country for the average teacher rank. Due to teacher strikes and a roughly five percent increase of salaries the NEA reports that the average teacher salary in 2017 puts North Carolina 35th in the nation.

 © Black Men With Beards //  Jeff Clark

© Black Men With Beards // Jeff Clark

Despite a slight increase in wages there are certain struggles that never seem to fade away. The academic performance of minority students in Guilford county, and the huge disparity between how black students are disciplined when compare to their white counterparts. The youth justice project reported that during the 2014/2015 school year only thirty one percent of black students were “college and career ready” during the end of course exams compared to sixty eight percent of whites. The report also revealed that black students account for seventy one percent of short term suspensions where as whites accounted for only fourteen percent. Mass incarceration begins early as blacks accounted for eighty percent of detention admissions compared to five percent of white students; all for the same offenses.

I was able to speak to a former classmate of mine who is now an educator with the Guilford County school system. I asked a few questions and he was able to speak on his experiences as a teacher and some of the hardships both students and teachers endure daily.

Lacy:  What inspired you to embark on a career in education? 

Kev:  For me, it wasn’t what inspired me, rather it was who inspired me to embark on a career in education. My good friend Christian Hill (former GCS Recruiter/former HP Central Assistant Principal) talked me into working in education when we were hired as football coaches at Mendenhall Middle School.

Lacy:  As a black educator, what's a hindrance you can identify that minority students face? 

Kev:  There are too many things to truly list that hinder our minority students. I’ll name a few with hopes of not rambling or boring you, discipline, reading levels, and cultural/ethnic representation. A student's behavior will directly disrupt their learning and it usually shows when it is time to read. Most black and minority students don't open up to receive the teachings from someone who doesn't come from the same cultural background or ethnicity as them. 

Lacy:  Do you think that black students and other minority students would benefit from having more educators that resemble them in the classroom?

Kev:  I absolutely think black students and other minority students would benefit from having more educators who resemble them in the classroom. This goes back to the above-mentioned cultural representation as well. Nobody can reach a child like someone who speaks like him or her, and lives or has lived like him or her in my opinion. Of course there are lots of kids who are reached by those who don’t share the same cultures or ethnicities, but the majority need/want to see someone who resembles them being successful in a positive way to be reached.

Lacy:  Do you plan to stay in education? If so, what are you hoping to achieve? 

 © Black Men With Beard //  Jeff Clark

© Black Men With Beard // Jeff Clark

Kev:  I hope to stay in education for as long as I can and guide the misguided youth, as well as return to coaching football in the near future. The only thing I have ever wanted out of this when I first started was to save a kid going down the wrong path. It was really all about football for me until I saw the impact I had on a kid’s life. Being able to say I’ve had former players/students go on to play at Florida St, N.C. A&T, ECU, WSSU, and more is more than enough of an accomplishment, but when a former player/student tells you that they don’t know if I would have made it without you that is priceless.

Lacy:  What's one of the biggest challenges teachers face in the classroom that most are probably unaware of?

Kev:  I think race and lack of understanding are the two biggest challenges teachers face in the classroom. Too often black students and minority students want to play the race card with a teacher who is willing to give them the shirt off of their back. I can’t tell you how many times a student has called a teacher racist because they weren’t given their way and allowed to be a stereotypical (by society’s standards) black or minority. This makes it harder for that educator who doesn’t have the same cultural or ethnic background as he or she to reach them. Students also have to understand that everyone who doesn’t look or sound like you isn’t against you. Once that is understood the education process seems to get easier from there.


Article written by Lacy D. Colson III. Colson is a student at N.C. A&T State University, studying African American studies. Lacy is also a mentor for the African American male initiative program through United Way and is a loving husband and father living in Greensboro, N.C.

Top 5 Reasons Why We Love Black Men With Beards

We polled our followers asking them to give us one reason they love a black man with a beard. Overwhelmingly, and to no one's surprise here, most responses were simple: they're SEXY! Indeed, a black man with a beard's sex appeal is something no one can deny. But aside from our aesthetic attraction there's reasons deeper than what meets the eye. In a world where the black man is torn down for being himself, we're here to tell you otherwise.  Here are BMWB's Top 5 Reasons why we love black men with beards!

We love black men with beards because they are powerful.

There is something about the strength of a man, both physical and mental, that exudes from his beard and is to be appreciated. Power is attractive and whether you acknowledge it or not, you're a held to a higher standard because of that power. Own it my brother. 

We love black men with beards because he defies social norms with sophistication.

Owning one’s identity is encouraged, yet in a corporate world stifled. Many of men have had to cut off their beards for the sake of a "job." We're overjoyed to see an increasingly number of black men with beards in the workforce of any realm. The DGAF is suave and you all put on great shows when dotting foot out public. The beard is an extension of the well-rounded man you are and should not be used against you.

We love black men with beards because it shows his patience.

The time and dedication it takes to not only grow a beard, but keep and maintain one is a level of patience most men tend to say they don't have. BUT when we see full thick gorgeous beards all over the country we must disagree. There is a nurturing factor in it that sets black men with beards a part from the rest. Patience too is attractive. You got time?

We love black men with beards because it is the most masculine expression of a man.

Nothing says MAN like a man with a beard. Beards are made for men, and it exudes masculinity and virility. When you take the extra time to give your beard the TLC it deserves, your appearance speaks volumes to those who witness its greatness.

We love black men with beards because THEY FEEL GOOD!

Women all over our social media pages attest to the great feel a well-groomed beard has. Key words being WELL GROOMED. Fellas that’s a PLUS for you. Women can’t help but caress and love all over those beautiful coils of hair. We’re not talking about those mangled shags we see guys do for the sake of the trend. We’re talking about those BEARDS, those amazing well kept, godly adorned man hairs that drape your chiseled chins. If anyone ever has the audacity to tell you sotherwise, we want you to always remember these reasons.

The Resurgence of the Bearded Gentleman

 © Black Men With Beards

© Black Men With Beards

re·sur·gence
noun: an increase or revival after a period of little activity, popularity, or occurrence.
 
Saying it’s the return would imply he went somewhere. But our love and admiration for black men with beards has helped put some much-deserved attention on what was once an underrepresented group of black men. Black men with beards have always existed. They have always been suave and polished, debonair, and sexy.  When the beard regained popularity, the focus also shifted from a man's earthly possessions to his outwardly appearance. The beard signifies patience, confidence, and power. It adds an air of style and sophistication we adore seeing our brothers embrace. We expect 2017 to be the year of the bearded man infused with an onslaught of gentleman style. We look forward to aiding in the popularity and reverence of you black men with beards. We love you.

Beards On the Job: Are They Professional?

Beards have been around since the dawn of time. Growing something as natural as facial hair isn't something that should be perceived as nasty, unclean or unkempt. Recent years are showing the beard is coming back to popularity - especially amongst black men.

Hair growing from his face is defiant of the American standard that dictates that in order to appear professional and trustworthy (or not lazy), you must be bare faced. In the work place (depending on the job and how lax the working environment is), it is often required that men shave their facial hair.

For the black man, this can be a hassle, and even painful for some skin types. Unlike their White, Asian and Hispanic counterparts, black men have to worry about the dreadful razor bumps or ingrown hairs, causing inflammation and scarring.

I'm biased here, because I'm all for beards, but this has come up often: Are beards unprofessional?

Personally, I don't think beards are unprofessional. Coming from a very diverse work environment that required me to wear uniforms or business attire, I always felt like I was in a box. Most of my jobs allowed me to dress it up though, wearing complimentary jewelry, hair styles that reflected my personality (like the one time I streaked parts of my hair turquoise while working in a Photography Studio). What I appreciated about those jobs that weren't "square" was even though I was expected to look a certain way, I was able to be myself while still being able to do my job. Beards are no different. Not all jobs require men to be clean shaven, but it is recommended that if beards are worn to work, they're kept low and well maintained, which can make all the difference in getting/keeping a job. @lathrj, a member from BeardBoard.com had this to say:

"I too think this is quite annoying. However, I think that a nice thick beard can more easily be worn with out the negative associations. It just depends on the overall look. Perception is reality in our society. If your beard looks scraggly and unkempt, then people are likely to assume the same of its wearer. However, a well cared for beard seems to impose a different vibe. It would be nice to have the freedom to sport whatever look you like, but we just can't do that (in any regard of life, without enduring the scrutiny of others). It goes the same for hairstyles even. If you see someone, even a girl with wild hair and split ends all over the place, that's not too encouraging. Why would a beard be any different?"

 Bearded Dapper Gent:  Terrance Henderson , Photography by  Collis Torrington

Bearded Dapper Gent: Terrance Henderson, Photography by Collis Torrington

While sometimes the rugged look can be appealing, corporate settings require you to look clean cut at all times. The key to accepting beards is maintenance, showing proper care and attention to keep it looking clean and healthy, thus giving the impression that you too show proper care and attention to your job (that trustworthy perception). We're hoping that with The Return of the Beard, especially on some of these beautiful black brothas looking classic and dapper, companies will start allowing men to keep their manes.

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