For Black boys growing up in 1990s Brooklyn, there weren’t many clear paths to achievement, particularly if you wanted to make a living legally. But Shaun “Lucky” Corbett was determined to make a life for himself outside a prison cell.
In his late teens and early twenties, Corbett was arrested three times within three years. He started moving drugs between New York and Charlotte, North Carolina, where his mother lived at the time. In 2001 the cops stopped him after he was caught stuffing cocaine between car seats, but the charges were later dropped because it was considered an illegal search. Corbett’s last brush with the law motivated him to change his trajectory and settle in Charlotte as a barber, a decision that would require sacrifice and dedication to come to fruition.
To pursue his dream, Corbett took a job at an uptown pizzeria to keep cash flowing while he was enrolled in No Grease! Barber School. On weekends he would head to the barbershop before 7 a.m., leave in the evening and then go straight to his night job, where he served pizza and washed dishes until the wee hours of the morning. The long days and nights paid off when Corbett was finally able to secure his own chair as a full-time barber. He became so popular with clients he was able to open up his first Lucky Spot barbershop in 2010.
His business became synonymous with not only fresh cuts but also community outreach. The space was open for after-school tutoring sessions and backpack drives for local students. And as a result of his Cops & Barbers initiative, Corbett is credited with helping to repair relations between the police and the community. His work earned him recognition from the Obama administration and a trip to the White House.
Corbett’s philanthropic efforts eventually caught the eye of Michelle Belaire, senior director of community relations at Walmart. The two built a strong rapport, and during their conversations Corbett expressed that he was looking to open his own barbershop inside Walmart stores. When a vacancy opened in a Charlotte location, he bid for the spot and the rest is living history. Corbett will always be known as the hustler behind Walmart’s first Black-owned barbershop and an inspiration to his community at large.