Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

New York Style in Yamba Barbering; Teacher Turns Hand to Trimming and Thrives

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

New York Style in Yamba Barbering; Teacher Turns Hand to Trimming and Thrives

Article excerpt

Byline: Janelle Brown Clarence Valley Healing Centre

DAVID Prosser had secretly dreamed about being a barber for almost 30 years. This yearning developed after visiting an amazing barber shop in New York City.

David had arrived in the Big Apple to visit a friend, a fellow Aussie who had been living there for more than 17 years. Being an Aboriginal person he knew he looked different to everyone else so he decided he wanted to blend in rather than stand out. He spoke to his friend about it and his response was "you need a good haircut". In those days David had shoulder-length hair.

His friend took him to an African-American-owned barber shop. David says it was like being in a sitcom. There were five elderly black men "talking cool" to each other in the back, a barber with a very flamboyant style and a sense of community within the barber shop. (Funnily enough there was a sitcom in the 1970s called That's My Mama that was very similar to the scene that David describes).

Impressed with his haircut, he returned to the barbers each week over the seven weeks of his stay, to maintain the haircut. The same groovy old guys were there every time. "It was like they never went home," David said.

David said he was treated like a king and each week looked forward to his next visit to the shop. He quickly became friends with the barbers and the regular customers. David really felt at home there.

On the plane back to Australia David thought that he too, would love to be a barber. However, the reality of everyday life meant that he had to return to his job as a teacher, working in schools such as Bowraville Central and Nambucca High School.

David went on to teach Gumbaynngirr and Yaegl languages in high schools and at TAFE and to teach the Diploma of Aboriginal Studies, Certificate IV in Governance and Certificate III and IV in Child Studies at TAFE.

Concerned about job security, after a restructure of TAFE two years, David discussed in his career options with his partner Graham. …

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