Local barbershop, Best Cuts, provide emotional relief and educational support to community members around Howard University’s campus through giveaways and educational counsel and has done so for over 20 years.
The institution of the “barber shop” is more than a place one goes for a haircut; it is a sanctuary, a town hall, a church, a place of refuge and restoration. In many communities, especially African American communities, the barber shop or the “shop” as it is affectionately known, is the backbone of social activity, political discourse and intellectual introspection. They’ve long played a pivotal role in both the economic and cultural development of African American communities.
At the turn of the 19th century, black barber shops began to become more of a place of expression and relief for African American men.
“This place is like a second home for me. I’ve been coming here since college,” said Vincent Dorsey a frequent patron of Best Cuts. Best Cuts is a barber shop located on Georgia Ave in northwest D.C., directly across from Howard University’s School of Business. It has served both the Howard community and the surrounding areas for two decades.
Federico Lindo, has owned and operated Best Cuts Barber Shop since 1999 (this year is the 20th anniversary). Lindo who has been cutting hair since he was a child started this barbershop because, “with the art form of barbering you can change somebody’s appearance and give them confidence. It’s always been my interest, I guess, from middle, high school”.
Lindo said that since 1992, the barbershop has experienced a lot within this community. One has been the change in his customers due to gentrification “The demographic has changed a lot,”. However, Lindo makes it clear that this is not bad. It has given him a diverse clientele and has pushed their efforts in the community to strengthen the social and cultural morale. Understanding how this is done emphasizes the civic and often philanthropic duty Best Cuts engages.
This institution which is more than a business frequently gives free haircuts to community members and children. It has partnered with local radio stations such as WHUR for educational and marketing campaigns. Many students do not feel that college is “for them”, Lindo encourages many to instead, “pick up a trade”. Lindo says he has employed a dozen students including Howard University students.
Through community presence and consumer trust Best Cuts has not only helped change people’s opinions but their lives.
“We have stayed in the same space to the point that we are a family, sent kids to college and grown together,” says Lindo. There is much in store for this hallmark institution as Lindo and the team hope to expand, opening another location, and engaging more in their immediate community.