ABOVE: Goode Looks owner Lewis Goode and barbers Reggie Watson, Damarcus Kincade, Craig Royal, Christopher Williams (not pictured) with HPD Chief Finner and Rev. William Lawson
HPD Police Chief Troy Finner connects with the community at popular local barbershop
The Black barber shop has always served as a safe haven to have dialogue and discussions that many Black people don’t get to have with others outside of their family. Going to a Black barber shop can stir up dialogue that can be either controversial or therapeutic, and where opinions and advice are shared by those who frequent the barber shop, along with a little gossip sometimes.
All in all, the Black barber shops serve as a mecca for community gathering in the Black community. Many Black barber shops had to shut their doors for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which left a void for many Black people to be able to discuss many of the important topics of the day, especially those issues impacting the Black community.
This past Friday, May 28th, local businessman Lewis Goode, owner of the popular Goode Looks Barbershop in Houston, came out of the COVID-19 pandemic with a fresh new concept after launching his GOODE TALKS Community Chats and inviting the community to participate.
GOODE TALKS Community Chats are an extension of informal talks that sprung up after high-profile leaders visited his shop. Because the anniversary of the death of George Floyd was approaching, the topic of policing came up the most in the shop and Goode’s customers were curious if anything had changed or would change and what would be next for Houston police.
As his first invited guest, Goode welcomed new HPD Police Chief Troy Finner to meet with the barbershop customers, neighborhood residents and students of The Lawson Academy.
“Many of my customers kept saying they hadn’t had the opportunity to meet Chief Finner,” said Goode. “I wanted to facilitate a forum where the community and especially local kids could get the chance to speak with the Chief one-on-one.”
The attendees at the community forum got to ask questions directly to Chief Finner and hear firsthand from him what his plans were to enhance and improve the relationship between the community and his police department.
Goode says that the mission and thoughts of the GOODE TALKS Community Chats came in response to legendary Reverend Dr. William A. Lawson, Pastor Emeritus of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church, asking a question a little over a year ago to the overflow crowd at the funeral of slain Houston native George Floyd, asking: “Can Something Good Come out of This?”
As we know, the death of George Floyd sparked worldwide protests and attention to the struggle for civil rights and his violent death by recently convicted killer and former police officer Derek Chauvin was felt most poignantly here in Houston.
As part of the Houston neighborhood that George Floyd grew up in and once called home, Goode decided to use these newly created GOODE TALKS Community Chats as an opportunity to create community dialogue and attempt to answer Rev. Lawson’s poignant question.
Goode states that he felt like it was his duty to be a stakeholder in the community, and he definitely has. Goode Looks Barbershop has been actively engaged in the community and has hosted numerous national, regional and local elected officials at the barbershop, such as former Congressman and U.S. presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, State Senator Borris Miles and the late political advisor Keith Wade, and has connected them with students and regular citizens.
Goode’s business is prominently located in the William A. Lawson Institute for Peace and Prosperity (WALIPP) Senior Residence, which is nearly adjacent to The Lawson Academy. The WALIPP complex is located in Houston’s historic Third Ward neighborhood, not too far from George Floyd’s alma mater, Yates High School, as well as the Cuney Homes where he grew up.