CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Not all superheroes wear capes.
However, Coastal Bend barber Robbie Richard has used her salon capes to save bad hair days, and be a listening ear to customers for more than 50 years.
Miss Robbie — as she's affectionately called — is the proud owner of "Robbie’s Barbershop" on West Point Road on the Corpus Christi’s West Side.
For more than five decades, Robbie’s Barbershop has opened its doors to customers helping for haircuts, clean shaves and building meaningful relationships with customers that keeps them coming back.
“I feel like this is what God wanted me to be,” Robbie said.
Robbie’s father, who was also a barber, asked Miss Robbie in her teens to be a nurse. But Robbie wanted to follow in her father's footsteps.
So, she took a leap of faith and began her journey in East Texas in 1964.
“And I went to Tyler in September and started barber school and at that time, it was 700 hours,” Robbie said.
After graduating, she used her skills to work for her clientele, and adopted the motto "a barbershop isn’t just a barbershop, and a haircut isn’t just a haircut."
She said because of how she has treated her customers, Miss Robbie has a lot of adopted grandchildren.
“Being in a community, you have that connection with other black, African-American young men,” she explained.
Studies show that over 60 percent of black people believe a mental health condition is a sign of personal weakness, but Miss Robbie is trying to remove that stigma.
“Some of them come in, they want my opinion about their personal lives. What do I think they need to do in life and it’s just coming natural for me to give (and) to step into that leadership role of giving advice. By all means, spiritual advice first.”
Her first piece of advice?
"Keep God first," she said.
Her second piece of advice is do what you love and love what you do—to maintain a happy life.
“Find what you really enjoy doing. Don’t let someone else tell you or push you into something that you’re not familiar with or that you don’t enjoy," she added. "If you enjoy what you’re doing than most likely you’re going to stay with it and succeed in it."
The full-service salon continues to provide their clients with confidence and pride. While keeping those clippers buzzing for those they serve.
Those looking for additional resources for mental health can follow the links below:
Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective (BEAM) — Group aimed at removing the barriers that Black people experience getting access to or staying connected with emotional health care and healing through education, training, advocacy and the creative arts.
Black Men Heal — Limited and selective free mental health service opportunities for Black men.
Black Mental Health Alliance — (410) 338-2642 Provides information, resources and a “Find a Therapist” locator to connect with a culturally competent mental health professional.
Black Mental Wellness — Provides access to evidence-based information and resources about mental health and behavioral health topics from a Black perspective, as well as training opportunities for students and professionals.
Black Women’s Health Imperative — Organization advancing health equity and social justice for Black women through policy, advocacy, education, research and leadership development.
Melanin and Mental Health — Connects individuals with culturally competent clinicians committed to serving the mental health needs of Black & Latinx/Hispanic communities. Promotes the growth and healing of diverse communities through its website, online directory and events.
Therapy for Black Girls — Online space dedicated to encouraging the mental wellness of Black women and girls. Offers listing of mental health professionals across the country who provide high quality, culturally competent services to Black women and girls, an informational podcast and an online support community.
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