Barbershop Talks set for Kent Commons

It's a creative new event, an opportunity to gather and engage the community, a way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. as the nation observes the late civil rights leader's birthday Monday.

Gwen Allen-Carston

Gwen Allen-Carston

It’s a creative new event, an opportunity to gather and engage the community, a way to honor Martin Luther King Jr. as the nation observes the late civil rights leader’s birthday Monday.

The Good Pharaohs – in partnership with the Kent Black Action Commission – present the inaugural Barbershop Talks, a men’s conference featuring debates, history, mentoring, haircuts, shoeshines and soul food on Saturday.

The men’s conference runs from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Kent Commons, 525 Fourth Ave. N.

The purpose of the event is to help raise awareness, membership and involvement in KBAC, a nonprofit organization whose primary focus is on issues that affect the African-American community. KBAC and The Good Pharaoh Foundation, a civic/social organization, are collaborating on the event.

More importantly, the program reminds others of King’s historical, social and political significance.

“It’s important to teach history and understand its relevance to you today, knowing what Dr. King’s vision was, to help you understand his dream,” said Reginald Gillins Sr., director of the Good Pharaohs. “If you don’t know your history, you don’t know where you are going. … History tells you how far you must go, to point you in the right direction.”

Gillins hopes to work with KBAC on future events.

“(KBAC) is a viable and vital organization for the community,” Gillins said. “So yes, we’re going to cut hair, yes, we’re going to shine shoes, yes, we’re going to teach history and tradition, but what about the day-to-day activity of living? How do you deal with your current community situation?”

Gwen Allen-Carston, KBAC executive director, hopes the Barbershop Talks can become a monthly event. It is the latest activity in KBAC’s effort to bring more programs to the black community.

“If we don’t stay engaged, we’re not doing anything,” Allen-Carston said. “For KBAC, if we don’t engage others, we’re not accomplishing our goals. Our mission is full of ‘can do, will do.'”

For male attendees, a $29 suggested donation supports the Good Pharaohs. Admission includes a shoeshine, checkers and chess competition, live performances, a debate on the greatest athlete of all time, and a challenging rap panel session on the subject, “Show Us the Vision, Teach Me to Dream” honoring King.

Call 425-293-5671 or email for reservations, recognition of your men’s group, and a special father/son discount.

The first 25 people who register will have a chance to receive a free haircut.

To learn more about KBAC, visit

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