Haircuts for Humane offers free haircuts to those in need

By Abra Richardson, Multimedia Reporter

Samuel Brown puts finishing touches on his first client of the day, Darren Johnson, at a Haircuts For Humane event at Danny’s Barber & Beauty Salon located at 241 W. 119th St. in Chicago on March 6, 2023. Johnson has been a long-time client of Brown’s and was eager to get a free haircut as he looks for re-employment. Abra Richarson

On a rainy afternoon in the West Pullman neighborhood of Chicago, Darren Johnson waited outside of Danny’s Barber & Beauty Parlor to get a free haircut from Samuel Brown. Brown is a barber who recently started Haircuts for Humane, where he hosts free haircutting events around the Chicagoland area for clients in need.

Johnson came for a haircut because he is unemployed. “So this helped me out a whole lot,” said Johnson, who was Samuel first client that day. He liked the experience. Brown “is a very friendly person and very helpful with everybody young and old, especially younger, to put them on the right track.

Brown grew up wanting to give back. At 16-years-old, he gave his first few haircuts around his community in Indianapolis and then traveled around the country.

Now, he has his own non-profit organization, Haircuts for Humane, where he combines what he learned about humanity and barbering to give free haircuts to people who need them, including new refugee arrivals to Chicago.

Haircuts for Humane often posts updates in the Facebook group Refugee Community Connection where many people connect to help find resources for refugees that need help getting their feet on the ground.

Brown started professionally training in Seattle, Washington, and got his start with the help of a mentor.

“I think about her now more than ever,” Brown said of the mentor, “because she used to say ‘One day you’re going to thank me, you’re going to see.’ I didn’t see the power that would bring at the time.”

After getting his license in barbering, Brown moved to California to pursue his passion for music but continued barbering. He lived on Skid Row, a 54-block area in Los Angeles, California, where many homeless people live and started to give free haircuts.

Samuel Brown preps his station at Danny’s Barber & Beauty Salon located at 241 W. 119th St. in Chicago before he opens the doors for his clients. Brown is the creator of Haircuts for Humane and held an event on March 6, 2023, for free haircuts. Abra Richardson

“When I was living down there, I said I always wanted to come back and help,” Brown said. “When I moved out of there, I used to come back, and I just could cut [hair and] volunteer down there or outside just talking to people… I just always did that.”

After traveling around the country to work in the barbering service, Brown continuously returned to Chicago, where he currently resides, to be with his mother, Victoria, who is in hospice care.

“I always tell him ‘You can do whatever you feel like you want to as long as you have your heart and your mind,’” Victoria Brown said.

Brown decided to start Haircuts for Humane last year but pushed his campaigning this year.

“It’s all about making people look good, feel good, inspired and motivated,” Brown said. “ I just want to make it as accessible to everyone as possible and change up the dynamics. I want to teach self care with self love.”

Fellow barber Louis Allen, who joined Brown at his recent event, said he was surprised by how hard working Brown is.

His first reaction to Brown was that “he’s another young man with big dreams,” Allen said. “I just thought he was working towards a dream but I’m just now coming to believe in it because of his action. He’s a young man that not only has a dream but has action behind it.”

Haircuts for Humane lists upcoming events on Facebook and Instagram.