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An Ode to the Fresh Cut

An Ode to the Fresh Cut

Children’s Author Derrick Barnes to speak at Unbound Book Festival.

By Ian Trantham

Never get your hair cut at Sport Clips. Not if you want to feel a surge of confidence every time you pass a mirror or get a free coffee from that cute barista with the chestnut eyes. No, for that feeling you need, simply, a fresh cut.

It wasn’t until my early 20s that I realized the potential of a quality haircut. A friend of my parent’s had just opened up a trendy barber shop in a former gas station, and after checking it out, I saw how powerful a haircut could be-it framed my face in a way that I had never seen before. I wasn’t pregnant, but boy, was I glowing; I looked brand new, fresh out the package and ready to shine. That day, I learned the value of the perfect cut.

“It’s amazing what a tight fade, high/low/bald does for your confidence: Dark Caesar.”

At the intersection of urban poetry and 19th century impressionistic painting lies

Derrick Barnes’ children’s story “Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut,” which explores the profound experience of the fresh cut from an African-American boy’s eyes. Each page is uniquely painted with short, swirling brushstrokes that feed you the energy of the barbershop and make the verses on each page pop to life.

Getting that clean fade will change this boy’s life: he’ll crush his geography exam, leapfrog to the top of the honor roll, and the girls at school will talk about how cute he looks.

And most importantly, everyone will see him for the unique, valuable individual that he is- a feeling too uncommon for African-American boys.

While everyone can benefit from a great haircut, the barbershop is a particularly special place in the black community. The ritualistic nature of the haircut serves to make it an almost holy place, one where you are treated like a king and can hold on to that feeling even after walking out the door.

This quick read can easily be done in less than 20 minutes, but each page ought to be considered in its own right. While most books use only text, this story’s poetic verse and painted scenes will make you want to linger on each page. Take your time, because this short read will leave you wanting more.

Derrick will be presenting at the Unbound Book Festival this Saturday from noon to 12:45 in the Warehouse Theater on Stephen’s Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

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