The Philly Beard, Explained. presents: The Sunni Beard from Chikodi Chima on Vimeo.

This started catching on back when I was in school, although obviously back then few of us could really pull it off.

(Freeway probably has the most famous Philly beard of all times. ALL TIMES!)



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • So, how do we explain Baron Davis?

  • J

    I’m not from Philly, but I suspect that the more probable origin of that look in the black community there is bebop not Islam. Didn’t the world’s greatest hard bop pianist, Bobby Timmons (straight outta South Philly!), have that look in, like, ’59? Just sayin’…

  • Scipio Africanus

    J, no, it’s pretty much Islam. Up until the late 90’s only a small number of the many, many, MANY (black) Muslims in Philly were rocking beards. Then by the early 2000’s they were almost ubiquitous, and they were being worn by young men, most of whom probably couldn’t tell you the difference bewteen Kenny Dorham and Cousin Balky.

    • Scipio Africanus

      Since there’s no edit…I mean to say that the only types of young(ish) guys rocking that particular style of beard used to be Muslims, and not even really that many Muslims were doing it…until the early 2000’s.

    • J

      LOL…I’ll take your word for it. I just thought that since bebop popularized the whole bearded Negro look back in the ’40s and Philly was such a major jazz scene that the look just stuck around for some odd reason. And then you look at Timmons…ah, well. I dig it though!

  • Great little film – the school girls were hilarious.

    I’ve been Magic Shaving for almost 30 years now. I can’t wait to have a job that doesn’t have an anti-beard policy.

  • Ash

    I go to school in Philly, so I see a lot of Philly beards. I like them.

  • I guess my beard is starting to qualify as Philly-style. I’m taking this one back for the shtetl!

  • Thanks a lot for posting this. I’m glad folks are enjoying it. Chikodi

    • Thank you for putting it together.

  • Phil

    Yo, your neighbors the Amish have been all over this look in Philly since before 1776.