Barber shop promotes breast cancer awareness
By Dorothy L. King / Guest Columnist
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among African American women. Also, it is the second most common cause of cancer death among African American women, surpassed only by lung cancer.
An estimated 27,060 new cases of breast cancer and 6,040 deaths from breast cancer were expected to occur among African American women in 2013. Because of these startling predictions, local barber Johnny King, owner of King Cut Barber Shops, decided to use his influence and skill to raise awareness of this dreaded disease.
“The local barber shops have always evolved into spaces where members of the community could freely socialize and discuss contemporary issues,” Mr. King said. “While catering to certain hair types may have help our businesses succeed, the real secret to our longevity is our continued social import.”
“For many folks, getting a haircut is more than a commodity or service; it’s an experience that builds community and shapes political action,” he added.
In 2012, King, in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, challenged his clientele to participate in a campaign called “Cutting a Pink Ribbon in Your Hair.” According to King, the response was overwhelming! That year, his youngest participant was 7 years old and his oldest was 71 years old. Two years later, the “Cutting a Pink Ribbon in Your Hair” campaign is still growing strong.
The pink ribbon is an international symbol of breast cancer awareness. Pink ribbons identify the wearer or promoter with the breast cancer brand and express moral support for women with breast cancer. King expressed the key motivation behind his campaign is to make every female and male across all age groups, aware the importance of breast health and screening.
He said during his short lifetime he has come across friends, colleagues and family members who have been affected by breast cancer. He hopes by his clients sporting the pink ribbon design in their hair it may remind everyone (especially women) to take the mammogram or breast self exam that they may have been putting off.