‘Barbershop’ Cast on Using Humor to Address Gun Violence

Photo by Chuck Zlotnick
“It’s about something that’s really going on in the world today," said Common.

Even though it's a comedy, Barbershop: The Next Cut will address the threat of violence in inner-city communities—an issue that has personally affected many cast members in the film.

'Barbershop 3' Tackles Gang Violence in Chicago—Watch the Trailer

“It’s hard to find people who haven’t been affected by some kind of violence in our communities,” Ice Cube told People while attending a Cinema Society screening in NYC on Monday. “I definitely feel it. We’ve had a few people go down.”

He says the movie attempts to make important points while still being comedic. “Comedy is a great ice breaker,” he explains. “You can’t really do an authentic barbershop movie without speaking about the violence on the South Side of Chicago.”

“Calvin,” the character that Ice Cube has played in all three Barbershop films, “has a 14-year-old son that he’s trying to keep off the streets.”

Cedric the Entertainer, who plays Eddie in the film, adds, “This film is about showing that communities can rise up and represent those same blocks that the gangsters claim. The gangsters throw their fingers up and say they run this and that. And we show that the people who work there, have businesses there, have kids there, can form a coalition and say, ‘We’re going to fight back. We’re going to stand up for ourselves.’”

For Eve, who plays Terri, the comedy makes the point addressed easier to digest.

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“The laughs helps you not feel like you’re being preached at,” she said. “I’m from the hood in Philly, and I’ve definitely known people who have unfortunately been taken out of this world by gun violence. I have friends who have been shot. When I watched the movie, it really did touch me in so many ways. We really need to get a handle on the violence. It’s really sad.”

To which Common, the newest addition to the Barbershop franchise agrees.

“At the heart of it, the movie is a comedy. But it also has heart and soul,” said Common.  “It’s about something that’s really going on in the world today. Put that together with something really funny, and you leave feeling inspired.”

The hip-hop artist who will play Rashad onscreen, still witnesses the affects of the violence waged on the streets of Chicago’s South Side.

“I’m from Chicago. I lost friends early on in my life, and it’s going on more now,” he shared. “I’ve sat down and spoken to kids, and then eventually found out later that one of them died. It affects me because I care about the people of Chicago and people all over. I want to see better days for the people of inner city communities. I have been working with my foundation, Common Ground, doing work to try and improve the situation, connect with people on the ground doing work there. It’s my heart.”

Nicki Minaj, Common, Eve and More Stars at the "Barbershop: The Next Cut" Premiere

Barbershop: The Next Cut hits theaters this Friday.

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