HIGH POINT, N.C. — Shauna Clemons owns Anointed Cutz Barber Shop in High Point. She says every time she hears about violence in the city, her mind starts racing.
“I’m always wondering, 'Is it my customer? Is it someone I know?'” Clemons explained. “Within the past few months, I’ve lost three fathers of some of my clients: young African American men who have been murdered. And no one knows who did it.”
She says the “Stop the Violence” rallies and concerts we often see after serious crimes are cool, but the offenders aren’t interested. But they are interested in basketball.
She and her barbers came up with the idea for a tournament: “Stop shooting. Start hooping.”
Before they play, they’ll pray.
“We’re targeting everybody. We want the dope boys. We want everybody out her. If we won’t come to church and pray, we’ll pray in here and we’ll tip the game off,” she said. “We’re targeting anybody. You got a felony, whatever your court cases are, we’ll pray with you even during the tournament that God will move and intervene on behalf of whatever you have going on. So it’s more than a basketball tournament. It’s ministry.”
There are teams from barber shops all over the Triad. Of course, all of them want to win the tournament. But for them, the big picture is more important. They want to win the fight against violence.
“I hope we can bring back love, peace and restore the non-violence in here but the love and bring back that peace where you can walk outside at 10 or 11 at night and not have to worry about looking over your shoulder,” said Henry Williams.
Henry Williams is a barber at Anointed Cutz and will be playing in the tournament. He moved to the Triad from southern California about three years ago. He’s no stranger to crime.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do," Williams said. "Didn’t know where I wanted to be in life, so I dibbled and dabbled, stealing here and stealing there. But the Lord helped me. I came to myself and I found the right way.”
He left home to make a better life here. He never imagined the issues in his new city.
“I wouldn’t say it’s the same, but I would say it has similarities as far as the violence and the gangs,” Williams said. “I’ve seen worse, but I’m just here to try to help the community, to try to be a part of the community to change the community.
The guys and girls taking the court know it’ll take the entire community and then some to stop the shooting. But they hope hooping will be a good step.
The tournament runs every Sunday in July at 3 p.m. in the gym at Andrews High School in High Point. There are teams from High Point, Greensboro, Asheboro and more. It’s open for anyone who just wants to come hang out.