A morning at Blessed Hands

Jahvarius Kendrick

At about 8 o’clock in the morning, in a medium size room, you see two barbers getting ready for the day. One barber is already cutting hair on his client, and another is setting up equipment for her appointment.

As you try to walk inside you are prevented from coming straight in, you get stopped and scanned with a forehead temperature scanner before you go inside.

But as you walk inside you hear the sounds of clippers buzzing, the casual conversations between the clients and the barbers and even the sound of a TV playing in the background. Although there is hardly anyone here, there is still a social atmosphere that you can feel by being in the shop. It reminds you of life before the pandemic.

As you get comfortable, you hear the door get locked behind you and see other customers have to go through the same routine, reminding you that the pandemic is still so nearby in our new normal.

This is an average morning at Blessed Hands barber shop. While some mornings may not start this early, this is how life has been during the pandemic. More masks and social distancing, less crowded barbershops, all for the safety of both the barbers and their customers.


O the Barber

 The first barber that I interviewed went by the name O the Barber, and she shared how the pandemic had affected her in her personal life.

“I had a best friend back home, and his uncle passed away from COVID,” said O, “We [were] at his house doing a low country boil, and the next week we got a phone call saying that he was in the hospital and passed away.”

Home for O is about an eight-and-a-half hour drive back to Jackson, Mississippi. O ended up coming to Statesboro when Georgia Southern’s track coach insisted that she come for a visit, and she’s been here ever since.

During her time on the GS track team, O started to become more involved with barbering, and she started pitching herself to other athletes.

“A lot of times when we [were] in the training room, I would just tell them, ‘Hey man, let me cut your hair.’”

O later detailed what her method was to cutting hair and how her style may be different from other barbers. In this case her client wanted a box haircut.

“I fade down. When I first started cutting hair, I used to fade up, but I used to have issues because when I would run in to the bulk, I’d run out of room,” said O.

“So when you go in, basically, you take your one-and-a-half up top, and you create your separation between your sides and the top, and you fade down from there.”

O’s method of cutting hair was enough for her clients, and even some of her former teammates, to keep coming back.

On the day of our interview, O had been in contact with former track and field teammate Samantha Cook about a new change in her hairstyle.

O, of course, obliged.


Samantha Cook

 Cook, a fifth grade math teacher, detailed the reason for her interest in getting a new haircut.

“I actually decided to do a big cut. Like I said, I had the baby, and I’m ready to make a change.”

Cook had her son in the middle of the pandemic, and she spoke candidly about her pregnancy experience during that time.

“Just doing the pregnancy alone was hard,” said Cook, “And then of course I didn’t get to celebrate the baby shower, nothing, so it was really hard because you’re supposed to have this wonderful time in your life, and I got it taken away.”

Cook has also had to get used to working remotely during the school semester. Cook works for Georgia Cyber Academy, an online school that has started to gain traction in Georgia.

Despite the students being online, Cook’s class attendance can still be spotty for various reasons.

“I can have a class of 40 and maybe 20 will be there participating, and there is nothing really we can do about it.”

Cook also detailed how it has been dealing with parents during the pandemic and their concerns for their child’s education.

“I get emails from 8 a.m. until nine at night. Parents are always in my inbox. If they can’t get a hold of me [through] email, they’ll call me because I have my zoom open 24 hours a day,” said Cook.

“They are very vocal because they want their kids to get their education, and they are very vocal if the kids are struggling. What else can they do? I’m really big on making sure they know I’m there.”

At the end of our conversation Cook finally revealed what her new haircut was going to be: a skin-fade underneath her long hair.



The next barber that I interviewed at Blessed hands went by the name of Junior.

Before he officially became a barber, Junior was cutting hair while incarcerated and was wondering what he would do for work once he got released.

“I used to cut hair while I was locked up with a comb and razor,” said Junior, “In my last bid, I was like, man, what was I going to do when I get out?” said Jr.

“I remembered I had clippers, and me and one of my partners sat down and dissected the barber game, and I was like, ‘Sounds good. Hell, I’ma give it a try.’”

Junior also revealed that his 14-year-old son caught COVID-19 and had moderate symptoms for about two weeks before finally getting back to normal. Junior’s initial reaction to his son contracting the virus was of concern, but it also let him know just how real the virus was.

“That let me know that it was real,” said Junior, “It hit home. I was like that s— really real.”

Because of his son’s contraction of COVID-19, Junior took two weeks off, and his son went back to go live with his mom to quarantine. During this time, Junior went to get tested for COVID before eventually returning back to work once his results were negative.

“When I got my results back, I caught back up, letting people know everything was good,” said Junior.



 As I was finishing up my interview with Junior, I noticed a barber in the shop that I still had not interviewed. I had asked him earlier in the morning, but he did not want to do it.

However, after a little bit of coaxing from the other barbers in the shop, he eventually warmed up to the idea, making jokes about how he wasn’t good in front of the camera.

“[I] opened [Blessed Hands] in July of last year,” said James.

To my surprise, I had unknowingly ran into an interview with the shop owner. Once he noticed that I was unaware he chuckled and continued to tell his story.

James opened up Blessed Hands barber shop with another barber named Monty, who had been cutting hair with James for about five years. The two were cutting hair with Kingdom Cuts, a barbershop that was close by GS’ campus, before they eventually opened up the shop that I was currently in, Blessed Hands.

James originally started barbering when he was in middle school, learning how to cut from his brother-in-law. He became more interested in barbering after his uncle had a stroke.

“He couldn’t do nothing for himself, so I picked up the clippers, had to cut his hair, had to shave him.”

After a period of time, James moved away from Georgia until he came back in 2007. The transition was like he was starting back over again.

“Had to start off like I was a new barber, like I wasn’t from around here,” said James.

“I had to get out. We call it beat the streets, telling them where you work at, you know, promote yourself.”

After a while, James was able to get his name out in the Statesboro community and he began to gain more clients.

While people are still trying to get adjusted to our new normal because of COVID-19, the pandemic hasn’t kept things down at Blessed Hands. When asked just how well his business is doing, James grinned up under his mask.

“I plead the fifth. Everybody eating.”

Editor’s note: This story was written for a class by Jahvarius Kendrick who is not a member of our staff. The George-Anne has decided to publish his story.