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ISSUE 116 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/4/2002

‘Barbershop’ portrays unique community

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer


Friday, October 4, 2002

Inside a barbershop or beauty salon many conversations occur. It is a community inside of a community that is unknown to many who have not experienced this type of family. Barbershop features a predominantly black cast. The movie is set in a Southside Chicago barbershop that is a platform for free-flowing debate, casual banter and sometimes off-color humor. The number one movie for two weeks in a row, Barbershop is an outstanding comedy based upon a special form of unity in the African-American community. This setting creates the perfect place to implement such a connection between several generations. Big names in the movie include Cedric the Entertainer, Ice Cube, Sean Patrick Thomas, and rap diva Eve. These actors are some of the major representatives of the African-American community in popular culture. Calvin, the main character, is played by former rap star - turned actor Ice Cube. He is the son and grandson of the former barbershop owners and has inherited the legacy of cutting hair, providing employment and maintaining an alternative setting for people to get to know others in their community since 1940. Calvin struggles with the decision to sell the shop and pursue other business ventures. Throughout the movie, he gradually realizes the importance and significance of the shop as part of the community. Eddie, played by Cedric the Entertainer, takes on the elder role in the film with a comical and controversial demeanor. This loud-speaking character represents the older generation yet portrays his wisdom through controversial comments about black leaders such as Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks. His comments have sparked the attention of movie critics as well as Black leaders. They were taken offensively instead of viewed in the context of a stubborn old mans view of the world. Critics have even gone on to say that these comments represent the unfortunate generational gap between different age groups in the black community. More diverse roles in the movie include a college student wih a superiority complex played by Sean Patrick Thomas and an enlightened ex-con played by Micheal Ealy. Other characters included a hard-edged female lead who adds spice to the mostly male cast (Eve), a curious newcomer from West Africa named Dinka, and a young white man, played by Troy Garity, who is immersed in the culture of the barbershop as a racial crossover undergoing personal revolution. Another scope to the movie included the villains who tried to steal an ATM machine. One of the villains was the cousin of Ricky (Micheal Ealy) whose progress was interfered with as he was accused of the crime and arrested. Facing the 3rd strike of his prison career, Calvin comes to his rescue not only as his boss, but as a friend who cares for his well-being. The employees come together in an almost convoluted fashion that brings together various perspectives on how each character experiences life in the Barbershop.





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