1.Tell us about yourself. What’s your name? Where were you raised? Where do you currently reside?
My name is Derrick Banks I’m 30 years old I was born and raised in San Diego California and I live here also.
2. How did you become a barber?
I would say barbering found me, prior to barber college I had never picked up a pair of clippers or cut anyones hair. I quickly learned that college wasn’t for me and decided I needed to pick up a skill. I first went to an electrical school seeking to be come an electrician, they told me they had a 2 year waiting list. I walked out of there disappointed. However around the corner from the electrical school was the barber college, I went in there just to entertain the idea. They told me I could start the next day if I wanted to, that was 10 years ago and the rest is history.
3. How long has Freshly Faded been in business?
I opened Freshly Faded Barber + Shop in April of 2013. The shop actually started as a website www.freshlyfaded.com which was a portal through which I asked my clients to schedule their haircuts through. It also allowed me to blog and express my views and opinions of the world.
4. Your instagram handle is “conscious barber”. What exactly is a conscious barber? How do you describe the connection between hair and spirituality?
Conscious Barber: to be “conscious” I’d say one has to know first who they are, where they come from, and where they are in the world and in society. Also after one gains that level of intelligence one must be aware and living in the present moment.
Hair and spirituality: If you look at any group of native people around the world you will see that they place high significance on their hair. And also they will somehow link hair with the spiritual realm. I see it this way. Our bodies and everything else is made up of fields of energies vibrating at different speeds, and that energy is shifting and flowing through us out into the world constantly. One of the areas that gets blocked and doesn’t allow energy to flow naturally is the crown of the head, What I do is I work on the slow moving energy which is the physical (hair) and simultaneously work on the fast moving energy traveling outward from the top of the head.
5. I noticed a photo on social media of a sage smudging performed by you on a client. Can you share the significance of this ritual as it pertains to grooming? How does your clientele respond to such activities going on while in the barbershop?
I never really liked the word smudging because it sounds as if I’m doing something dirty. All I’m doing is using smoke from the sage to clear up negative or stagnant energy that is built up in the crown area of the client. I am a healer, what good is it to clean up the outside of your house when your inside is dirty? Our clients love the experience because they know how they feel afterwards.
6. Do you see a holistic approach to grooming emerging for men of color? How do the worlds of self care/love and grooming intersect for men?
I think for men it is a bit tricky, we have been tricked into believing that self care/love means that we must sacrifice our masculinity to do so. I think you can still be very manly and still like to look and feel your best. Some companies out there have been able to effectively market that, but I think it is extremely difficult.
7. You are a black man. You are a successful entrepreneur. Due to your physical attributes and chosen profession, you are often met with risk – physically and financially. Are you often fearful? How do you deal with your fear?
I really don’t understand this question. As a black man in society of course there is a level of caution that you must move with, but fear? No fear is something else entirely, fear is something that limits you from success, that isn’t really based in reality. If black people are the original people of this planet then everything here on earth as long as we live in harmony with it can be used to our benefit. Where is the fear in that? Financially, I know that I am going to alway be taken care of, the whole planet is abundant. The tree has thousands of leaves the dirt has millions of grains, I guess its just important to know that you can never be lacking of anything as long as you remain conscious of who you are and where you are. That is the key.
8. After reading your blog, watching your videos and seeing your social media posts it is very clear you are proud of your blackness. At the same time you were raised and educated in very diverse communities and your staff as well as your clientele are diverse. What then is blackness to you? Is it simply you being you unbothered by other’s perceptions or is it a matter of conscious (there is that word again) education and redefinition of what blackness is for others?
Here is another question I’m not sure I understand. What is blackness to me? Blackness in America as defined by America begins with slavery and continues all the way up to President Obama. The collective achievements and mishaps of people who were once slaves and are so called free today. But to me blackness starts with the original people of the planet. Who brought mathematics, science, astronomy, agriculture, music, art, and spirituality to the world. From whom everything was stolen from, and their descendants are now suffering the world over. But some of us are waking up. We are starting to remember who we are where we come from and where we are going.
9. What do you think of the natural hair boom that has emerged in women of color?
America’s grip on the standard of beauty for women of color is slipping. There was a time when they could control the various forms of media, and pump the rhetoric that white skin and straight hair is beautiful and dark skin and natural hair is not. Now with the presence of the internet how can they spread those lies? You can see for yourself how beautiful you are. Look in the mirror, post a selfie and then get the positive feedback from millions of people who are just as beautiful as you are. Black women there is no one like you, you are the closest thing to God on Earth, the sooner you realize that the sooner our situation will change. Hold yourselves in high esteem because you have a sacred magic that no one else has. You are it, and we love you!
10. What is your favorite hair style on a woman?
I love natural hairstyles on women. I dig the wash and go.
11.What is your favorite hair cut to achieve on a man? What trend do you think needs to go (for men) what is a classic look that you think will never leave (for a man)?
I like cutting fades and leaving natural nappy textures on the top. I think it is saying to society look, I’m clean, however I am unwilling to compromise who I am because one of you made up a silly rule that all black males must be bald headed. lol. Since there isn’t a lot of variation in men’s hairstyling I don’t think any trends need to disappear I just think they need to be more refined. Brothas with texturizers in their hair though? Save that for the birds, it’s absolutely terrible. Short clean cuts with sharp clean lines will never go out of style. But the cool thing is Brothas can make almost any hairstyle look good, both long and short.
11. What do you envision for Freshly Faded as it grows as a business?
I think Freshly Faded will mature and branch out into other things. I’ve already done men’s haircare products, t-shirts, and other apparel. I think I would like to recreate this vibration in other places, and give other people the opportunity to feel a part of this positive movement of consciousness. That sometimes starts with a haircut, but ends up in a shifting of a mentality.
Thank you Brother Banks for the interview! We love to see our black men riding around and gettin’ it! We are proud of you!
To learn more about Derrick Banks and Freshly Faded
2850 El Cajon Blvd. Suite 1. San Diego, California 92104
(Post By Shanti)