"Barbershops and hair salons are staple businesses in the Black community – and in Black history. These are places where people are themselves unapologetically. People come here and they self-reflect. Conversations happen naturally. It is part of the culture,” said Nikki Wilkens, community outreach specialist, Fairfax County Health Department.
Real Talk began as a way to spur conversations in the Black community about the COVID-19 vaccine. However, it has evolved to include conversations about other health topics such as mental health. Real Talk finds success by meeting people where they are. Facilitating these discussions through barbershops allows community members to ask questions and have organic conversations with people they trust in places where they feel comfortable.
“I answer questions and I get people talking about the vaccine. But most of all, I am there to listen to the real concerns on the table,” said Nikki.
People want to better understand the science and production of the vaccine. But most of all they want to talk to one another. The personal dialog really helps people work things out.
Are you a barbershop owner and want to take part in this program? Email us!