"See, in my day, a barber was more than just somebody who sit around in a FUBU shirt with his draws hanging all out. In my day, a barber was a counselor. He was a fashion expert. A style coach. Pimp. Just general all-around hustler. But the problem with y'all cats today, is that you got no skill. No sense of history. And then, with a straight face, got the nerve to want to be somebody. Want somebody to respect you. But it takes respect to get respect."
-Eddie, Barbershop (2005)
I ended up here after an affair. Black Man Code #3491 specifically states, "Thou shalt not cheat on thy barber." I still stepped out anyway. It sounds silly, but in a world where we are all battling with our hairlines and constantly seeking the perfect fade, a man's relationship with his barber is pretty serious. One day I decided to wander over to the other side of the fence. I wanted to see if the grass was actually as green as it looked. I committed barbershop infidelity.
That was 5 months ago so to answer your question, yes, the grass really was that green. I haven't called my old barber back since.
Denny Moe's Superstar Barbershop was opened in 2006 by celebrity barber Dennis Mitchell, known by everyone in Harlem as "Denny Moe." This is a man that's put his clippers on the likes of old school players like Keith Sweat, to the $735 million hairline that is Sean Combs himself. Rooted in this constant idea of community service, Denny Moe is running a tight operation over at his shop, but the environment still feels authentic.
Me choosing to write about black barbershops would never be enough. It's something that you have to feel, to see, and something that you have to experience for yourself. In the middle of an ever-gentrifying Harlem, barbershops are one of the few spaces you can still go to for the culture.
Right on 133rd & Fredrick Douglas Blvd in Harlem sits a sanctuary of clippers. I put my lens on my barbershop for a day. I wanted to capture the community. I wanted to capture the focus and attention to detail. Barbers are quite possibly the most slept on artists of all time. It's time to expose that truth. Click the photos to expand and experience for yourself.
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