“I have had this barbershop for 15 years. I got into barbering while I was in prison. I was arrested for drug trafficking in 1988. That was my first time to be arrested. I went to college for two years, did three years in the Army and just got out when I was caught. I had a wife who was pregnant with twins and I thought that was how I was going to support us. I was acting out. I was in prison for five years and that changed me. They wanted someone to clean up the Cuban immigrants coming into the prison so they would look good for visitors. I was the first to raise my hand even though I didn’t know how to cut hair. They gave me a pair of clippers and said, ‘off the head, on the floor.’ The walls were closing in and I would do any thing to get out of that room. Cutting hair in prison saved me and gave me a career and a ministry.
If a topic hits the floor about prison, college, or the military, I can explain from a position of experience and help young guys stay focused. They can seek me out and ask my opinion on anything. Today is a rough day. One of the guys I have been counseling for years was involved in a shooting last night. I know his grandmother is crying her eyes out today. I tried to lay it out for him and hold up a mirror to show who is responsible for his actions. I feel like I let his grandmother down. We can’t throw our hands up and not care. As with anything, there will be stumbling blocks and the depths you take others through before you cut it out. I know I was a major disappointment to my family before I turned it around.
I got to Prichard and heard the stories and fell in love with the people. I worked in the building next door for nine years. I had been praying for my own shop where I could control the hour and the environment with no profanity or sagging pants. This is a place where children can look up to the men here and women are respected. We talk sports and laugh, you lose people when you talk religion and politics so we kept it fun. Barber, preacher, teacher, father, and grandfather. All of those roles happens here.
I also rehab houses and see potential everywhere. I love having a skill saw in my hand with dust flying and work until it turns into something. Sometimes my hobby turns a profit.
Look at that street. It could be Prichard’s Azalea Road or Dauphin Street. We don’t have to look like how we are being portrayed. I want to be a part of a team that turns Prichard around. So many don’t remember what it used to be with department stores, grocery stores, and a zoo. I don’t have to climb that mountain by myself. It can be an arty downtown. Let’s build on what we have. As long as one of us is here, it isn’t going to die. I can hardly wait for the day when we say, ‘now look at it.'”
Our Southern Souls/The Southern Rambler is partnering with The Mobile Arts Council to create a mural celebrating the history and culture of Prichard on the side of Terry’s Custom Cuts barbershop. His shop is the first building that you see when you drive through downtown and it can be seen from the interstate. The lead artist is Soynika Bush from Prichard and the youth from Strickland Youth Center will be working with her. She will start work on the mural in August.
Here is how you can help with the mural:
-Donate good quality outdoor latex paint and brushes/rollers.
-Volunteer to help with pressure washing and priming of the wall.
-Loan us scaffolding for approximately 3 weeks .
Message me if you can help.