Harlem barbershop offers fresh cuts, health screenings for charity

Denny Moe’s Superstar Barbershop in Harlem offers its clients more than the traditional clean shave and nice haircut over the weekend. The popular neighborhood establishment takes its commitment to the community to the next level to focus on better health with “Cutting For A Cure.”

The bi-annual charity event brings barbers from across the country (and one from Paris) to participate in a 48-hour haircutting marathon alongside health care professionals who provide information and free screenings to residents.

Barbershop owner Dennis Mitchell, also known as Denny Moe, says personal tragedy in 2008 inspired his original vision of a haircutting marathon to include a health fair component. “My father at the same time was struggling from pancreatic cancer, so I decided to put a cause on the back of the marathon.”

Health care providers on the premises and just outside the door address health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.

“Right now our focus is Hepatisis C because Hep C is disproportionately impacting the African-American community,” says Leatrice Wactor from the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS. “There’s estimated over 3.2 million people who are infected by Hep C.”

R&B Singer Monifah, also a Harlem-native, recently lent her voice to the event, emphasizing its importance.

“People that can’t afford services and tests, it’s a day to come and encourage people to find out what’s going on with their bodies,” says Monifah.

The event also brought support from Congressman Charles Rangel (NY) who applauded Denny Moe’s social activism and business acumen. “He has demonstrated how you can run a business and at the same time make a gigantic contribution to the community.”

Denny Moe, for his part, took all the accolades in stride, envisioning the event as something far greater than the 48-hours in one community.

“We gonna really make that happen,” said Denny Moe. “At least five barber shops in each city is gonna be representing ‘Cutting For A Cure.’ Giving back to the community.”