Fayetteville duo lift up Sandhills residents through free haircuts

Monique John Image
Thursday, January 26, 2023
Fayetteville duo lifts up Sandhills residents through free haircuts
Cut My City transformed a school bus into a mobile barbershop last year and it has become a major vehicle to help more clients and mentor younger barbers.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A pair of entrepreneurs are making waves in the Sandhills community -- and across the world by providing free haircuts for low-income families and people experiencing homelessness. The barbers say it's their way of helping boost self-esteem for people who can't always afford haircuts, but it doesn't stop there; they're also helping younger barbers break into the industry.

Dr. Lumumba Quow, a co-founder of Cut My City, knows how a good haircut can make or break a person's self-esteem. Quow said there's a lot of meaning that goes into grooming his clients.

"It ain't about the haircut, you know. It's about that community guidance, the relationship, the counseling, mentoring, help he needs and consistency, you know? Really giving this client what he's asking me for, not what I want to give him," he said.

It's that passion that's helped him and his business partner, Dr. Sundiata Morris, stay in business all these years, starting with Barber Kings back in 2007. However, there was an issue that kept catching their attention: low-income families frequently couldn't afford to get their children's hair cut.

"We were like, 'What do we do? We can't keep taking money from the single parent mom at that rate when she's working one job trying to make ends meet,'" Quow said.

The pair branched out into a new foundation called Cut My City in 2014, giving free haircuts at events to children from low-income backgrounds as well as to the elderly and people experiencing homelessness. Morris says doing their work often makes him emotional, because he was once a vulnerable child and can relate to many of his clients.

"Being in a situation now that I can give back, it's so rewarding," Morris said. "Like, it's priceless because I know the feeling that some of them kids have because I had it. Just to see it, you know, it brings tears to my eyes every time."

A year ago, Cut My City took things a step further, transforming a school bus into a mobile barbershop. It's become a major vehicle for them to not only help more clients but also mentor younger barbers on how they can uplift their neighborhoods.

"We are the cornerstone of every neighborhood," Morris said. "Every barbershop is just as important as every hospital and every church. So when it comes to the barbers giving out good energy, it becomes a spiritual thing."

The positive buzz doesn't stop here: Studies through the years have shown a link between how improving students' appearance and self-esteem can enhance their performance in school.

Anyone interested can expect Cut My City to do more outreach throughout the Sandhills and abroad later this year. Children and families who attend the program's events can also expect to take home treats such as books and mental health resources as a special thank you for coming.