he set is purposefully simple. The lone fixture is a barbershop chair near the fireplace in the Piazza, one of the most visible spots on Quinnipiac’s Mount Carmel Campus.
The conversations, however, are anything but simple. They are sophisticated, urgent, provocative and painful. Often, all at once.
Welcome to “The Cut,” a new video series that began taping in January to promote a safe space and a platform for Black students to share their thoughts with each other as well as faculty and staff mentors. The first episode debuted on Friday, August 14.
For Black men, the local barbershop is more than just a fade in the chair. It’s a seat at the table, a place for marginalized voices to be heard and respected. “The Cut” is an extension of that proud community. It’s an open mic for unfiltered discussions about politics, racism, the criminal justice system, hypermasculinity, any number of social issues.
“These are Quinnipiac students engaged in real conversations. This is their space,” said Don C. Sawyer III, PhD, vice president for equity and inclusion, who helped to bring “The Cut” from concept to reality. The series was initially modeled after “Barbershop Debates,” a project started by Jay Kemp of New Haven, one of Sawyer’s colleagues.