For most men the journey of growing a beard began with either going bald up top or Pseudofolliculitis Barbae; a skin condition which causes severe inflammation & razor bumps for black men after shaving.
Whatever the reason, one of the first hurdles to overcome is issues in the workplace. Black men are already under scrutiny for being too masculine and intimidating without a beard, (insert the shooting of twelve-year-old Tamir Rice). The officer that shot Tamir Rice stated that he “looked over 18 and at least 185 pounds”.
So imagine how intimidating an actual grown black man with a beard can be in corporate America. The same scrutiny that some black women with natural hair experience for being “too ethnic” are the same struggles of black-bearded men in the workplace. Embracing our natural attributes has crushed the European ideology of what it means to be appealing to the eye.
Even outside of how bearded men are viewed professionally, growing a beard has become a sign of consciousness, masculinity, and assertiveness to our female counterparts. Side note to women reading this, not all bearded men possess those qualities, some of us just appear more attractive with hair covering half of our face. If men say they want to see you without makeup before dating you, then you have the right to ask a man to shave so you can see the “real him”. You’re welcome.
For any man embarking on growing a beard, regardless of your reason, the most important thing to remember is to enjoy the journey. Some men spend time and money on products promising “rapid growth” and stress over the length rather than enjoying the different stages that come with growing a beard. The process of growing your mane can come with obstacles but it’s imperative to embrace them and let your beard game speak for itself.