Keri Blue Reflects on 2023 Modern Barber Award Win

Published 16th May 2024 by Talana Sodiwala

Barber and Founder of educational platform Human First, Keri Blue reflects on being crowned Community Hero at the 2023 Modern Barber Awards.

How did it feel to win Community Hero at the Modern Barber awards?

It felt really amazing. The very first recognition I’ve seen I suppose in the hair industry, for being trans. It felt like an acceptance. It made it all feel worth it. I didn’t feel like I needed to win it, but now that I have there’s other people that have started following me or have spoken to me that I probably had nothing in common with. It made me think, if I have to do that to be seen then I’m going to do it. If you want to learn stuff now, cool. If not, then... it’s not for you.

Why did you decide to enter the awards?

I wanted people to know what’s going on in the world of trans people in the hair industry, and how much can be done, how much they can do. It’s the little things they can do to make our lives easier. For the Community Hero award especially, the finalists are always made up of people working for amazing causes like helping the homeless, suicide prevention and autism. Transgender fluidity has also been in there a few times thanks to people like Open Barbers, so I wanted to do it for them. They’ve worked so hard, and Grey gave me the inspiration to apply three years ago, and every year since.

What's your personal approach when it comes to being a Community Hero?

Resilience. I want to open people’s minds and touch hearts rather than bulldoze in. I want to be more of a trailblazer and make it possible for anyone to be a community hero. If you have enough passion for something and you spend enough time doing it, then make it your niche and follow it through. You have to do it for the right reasons. There has to be love and a passion for what you’re doing otherwise, it’s gonna be hard. You’ve got to show up.

Do you feel like there is still a long way to go when it comes to change?

There’s a lot to do, but if I go back to when I started three years ago to now, and I look at it like that then I can see such a big change has happened. Every small change makes a big difference, especially to the person it affects.

Check out Keri's tips to promote gender inclusivity in your barbershop here.

Talana Sodiwala

Talana Sodiwala

Published 16th May 2024

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