Good barbers have a huge weight on their shoulders at all times. Not only are they responsible for properly grooming their clients but many people who sit in their chairs expect them to be the information source of their city.
This has been an expectation that has guided me in the right direction many times throughout my travels across America. Whether I’m vacationing or visiting a city for professional reasons – I have reached out to the locals in search of the barber(s) with the most street buzz.
Once I make my decision – arrive at the barber shop and sit in the chair – I usually introduce myself and start with my normal line of questioning: “Any recommendations for shopping?… What type of entertainment does this city provide?… And most importantly – What areas of town do I need to avoid?” Highly recommended barbers should have credible answers to all these questions.
Barbers are an essential part of the urban community and their services are often taken for granted. One Louisville barber is determined to change that. J Dot “Divine Cuts” Alexander – owner of Haircutz’ Barber Shop located at 1103 Larchmont Avenue – had a meeting with the mayor’s office and as a result – November 3, 2014 was declared “Urban Barbers of Louisville Day.”
“I FELT THAT BARBERS NEED TO BE HONORED… BARBERS NEED TO BE PAID HOMAGE TO… SO WITH THAT BEING SAID – I HAD A MEETING WITH THE MAYOR’S OFFICE IN MARCH OF LAST YEAR. I PETITIONED THE MAYOR TO GIVE ME A PROCLAMATION ON BEHALF OF BLACK BARBERS IN THE CITY AND THAT’S WHY IT’S CALLED URBAN BARBERS OF LOUISVILLE DAY.” – J DOT ALEXANDER
In addition to having “Urban Barbers of Louisville Day” declared as an official day – Alexander took it one step further and began hosting an awards ceremony for local barbers in honor of this day. Beginning in 2014 – Alexander has reserved the first Monday in November for the official celebration and awards ceremony for Urban Barbers of Louisville Day since most barbers typically do not work on Mondays.
This year the event takes place on November 2, 2015 at the luxurious The Venue at Oak nightclub from 5pm-8pm. The event is non-formal but no sneakers, t-shirts, ballcaps or athletic gear is preferred. Services will include a cash bar, live DJ, an awards ceremony, spoken word performances, singing and a celebrity guest speaker. A $10 donation is asked to help fund the cost of future Urban Barbers of Louisville Day events.
Nine awards will be handed out to local barbers including two honorary awards. Seven of the awards will be skill based and the two honorary awards are dedicated to the lives of Alexander’s mother – Sister Peggy J. Bolton – who recently passed in September and Donald “Donnie McFly” Mattingly Jr. – a local rapper and aspiring barber who was slain outside a local nightclub earlier this year.
“MY MOTHER – SISTER PEGGY J BOLTON – WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY WHENEVER SHE WAS DOING ANYTHING FOR ANYBODY – BASICALLY BASED ON HER CHRISTIAN BELIEFS… I’M HONORING MY MOTHER AND THAT AWARD IS CALLED THE “BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY” AWARD IN HONOR OF SISTER PEGGY J. BOLTON.” – J DOT ALEXANDER
“I’VE KNOW HIM [DONALD MATTINGLY] SINCE HE WAS 12.. BEFORE HE DIED HE HAD JUST ENROLLED IN BARBER SCHOOL. AS A FRIEND – I CAME UP WITH THE “ASPRING UP AND COMING BARBER” AWARD IN NAME OF DONNIE MATTINGLY JR…THAT AWARD IS GIVEN BASED ON WHAT THE INSTRUCTOR AT THE KENTUCKY COLLEGE OF BARBERING SEES AS THE NEXT BARBER WHO’S UP AND COMING. I DID THIS TO PAY HOMAGE TO A DEAR BROTHER WHO WAS A PILLAR OF THE COMMUNITY AND THE HIP-HOP COMMUNITY AS WELL.” – J DOT ALEXANDER
The celebrity guest speaker at the event will be Andis clipper company educator and celebrity barber Tone McGill. Alexander and McGill have collaborated to share their knowledge about the barbering trade to the citizens of Louisville. McGill is a Philadelphia native – now living in Charlotte NC – who has become one of the most sought after and recognized celebrity barbers in the nation over the past decade.
Alexander is a well-known barber throughout the metro Louisville area and his 2nd place finish at the Bronner Bros International Hair Show in Atlanta earlier this year has possibly increased his popularity throughout other regions. Those regarded as the top barbers in America submit applications to compete in the Bronner Bros barbering competition each year. Out of the 25 selected – Alexander was able to bring the 2nd place trophy back to the city of Louisville.
Now 41 – Alexander began cutting hair when he was 12 years-old after his mother recognized his natural talent and invested in a pair of clippers. He received his barbering licence in 1995 and his been a barber shop owner for the past 16 years. That alone makes him more than qualified to host this monumental awards ceremony for the city of Louisville. The criteria for being selected for an award is that a barber must have 20+ years of barbering experience. Although majority of the awards are skill based – Alexander feels as though the “Beyond the Call of Duty” award is the most prestigious.
“IN MY OPINION I THINK THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS AWARD AT THE EVENT IS ACTUALLY THE ONE THAT IS IN HONOR OF MY MOM BECAUSE WHENEVER SOMEBODY GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY – THAT KIND OF HELPS KEEP THE INDUSTRY OR WHATEVER BUSINESS YOU ARE IN MOVING FORWARD… THOSE PEOPLE ARE OFTEN OVERLOOKED AT TIMES. YOU ALWAYS HEAR ABOUT THE CEOS OR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE FAILURES BUT THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE ENGINE RUN ARE THE PEOPLE WHO I ADMIRE… THEY MAY NOT BE THE BEST BUT THEY ARE THE SPARK PLUGS.” – J DOT ALEXANDER