Meet the barber: Jay Gray
For as long as I can remember, barbershops have always been an integral part of urban communities and a place where love, hip-hop, and so much more have always converged. It was no different when I made the trip out to the headquarters of barber, Jay Gray. When I arrived and walked through the doors I felt like I just stepped into a refined version of every barbershop I’d ever seen. Marbleized floors and pristine white walls resulted in a space that was booming with the sound of some Young Thug. On the walls, you are met with original artwork and photographs, some of which were taken by Johnny. His subjects included Chris Rock, Pharrell, DJ Clue, and the guy responsible for my interview with Johnny taking place a little later than scheduled. But, you’ll never hear me complain about coming second to my fellow Brooklynite, Jay Z.
While awaiting Jay arrival, a barber by the name of Ak made me feel right at home. He began by throwing some questions my way and quickly gave me an introduction to The Shop and its team. The atmosphere made it feel like a second home, despite the fact that I live two rivers away. This is one of the many reasons that Barbershop: The Next Cut has so much potential. The film reflects an element of community familiar to many. You can get the latest in music, sports, and political discourse, all while getting lined up and interacting with a bevy of characters and personalities.
When he arrived, Jay evoked that same feeling of community and familiarity. He greeted me and then proceeded to catch up with the customers and the rest of his team before we got to the interview. Johnny shared how far he’s come and how far he’s gone, with the help of a pair of clippers and the desire to continually get better at his craft.