Every now and then, despite the tumultuous times we live in, we hear a story that warms our hearts. Such is the case of B. JaWuan Jones, founder of Haircut 4 Homeless, who has been serving his community in Philadelphia. If his name sounds familiar, it might be because he received national recognition on The Rachael Ray Show.
We spoke to the 29-year-old wardrobe stylist-turned-barber for a BET Style exclusive to learn more about his story — and how we can show some support. Here's what he had to say:
"After a brief encounter with a homeless individual where I missed an opportunity to do something to better his situation, I decided to go out and provide haircuts for the less fortunate," he shares. "I traveled throughout the Philadelphia and surrounding areas setting up a mobile barber station wherever I saw someone who could benefit."
With winter rounding the corner at any minute, B. JaWuan was scrambling to find a way to continue his charitable haircuts, which occurred outside. However, a stranger by the name of Shawn Johnson, owner of Taper’s Barbershop, heard about B. JaWuan's work and did the unexpected.
"Back in April, a gentleman [Shawn Johnson] approached me after seeing what I was doing on the streets of Philadelphia," he told us. "He asked a few questions, the one that stood out the most was 'What are you going to do during the winter months?' Because I couldn't answer that question at the moment, we exchanged contact info and he proceeded with his day," he shares.
"Last month after misplacing my business card, [Shawn] finally found it and gave me a call. He asked if anything had changed regarding my decision for the winter months, I expressed I would possibly put my initiative on hold until the summer. He then invited me to check out a building he owned that was sitting for the last year," he said.
"I went to check out the fully renovated location and instantly fell in love. He the asked a question that I never thought about. 'Why be an employee if you could be an owner?' I had no answer. He then asked if I liked the place. I responded, 'Absolutely!' He tossed me a key and said, 'It's all yours, no strings attached!'"
While some might consider a haircut frivolous or unimportant to the homeless, B. JaWuan thinks otherwise. "For my clients the haircut is actually a plus. They are more affected by the conversation and words of encouragement that I give. I try to lift their spirits the best way I can."
Of course, we wanted to know how can we help his amazing contribution? "Because I am not a nonprofit organization, I receive no assistance whatsoever, and a lot of time it's hard on my finances, financial support always helps. But if people would just donate their time, that would mean more to me than money!"
Phenomenon Perfection Barber Lounge (home of Haircut 4 Homeless) officially opens on Sunday, November 12, so show your support if you are in the Philly area.
(Photo: haircut4homeless via Instagram)
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