It’s Friday. Hot August Nights is in full swing. People from all over town are flooding the streets. For local area shop keeps, business is good. Across town, the Boys and Girls club is hosting a BBQ before the school year kicks off. The town is busy and money is flowing.
In a small side room of the Boys and Girls Club, as the teens celebrate the end of the summer, local barber Tabu McKnight, is giving away free haircuts. And though is doesn’t seem like much, as Tabu puts its, “a good haircut can change a mans life.”
And by all appearances, this might be a truism. At first, a few heads poke in the room, tentative about the stranger who has crashed their party. They knew a barber was coming, but why would anyone want to volunteer their time? Many ask how much the cuts cost. One kid says his Uncle used to cut his hair but now he has moved away. However, after the first child makes his way out into the BBQ area, its over. The line gets big, and small trifles break out about who’s going to be next. Tabu’s fame has spread. This strange barber has won over the crowd.
“I trust him. I saw other people’s haircuts,” said Kimo, 14. He tiptoed cautiously in after admiring a peers cut. Adriana, 14, a leader in Training at the Boys and Girls Club echoed his sentiment, “It looks better than it was before,” referring to his friends haircut.
But as Tabu is a fresh face to some, to others he is an old hat. Caleb, 17, student at Galena, has been a steady client of Tabu his entire life. He as also been a member of the Boys and Girls club for as long as he could remember. He was surprised to learn that Tabu would be volunteering his time at the club. Caleb recounts sitting in Tabu’s chair as a child. “I used to try to get my parents to let me get designs in my hair but they wouldn’t let me.”
Charles Walker, or C-walk, (short for Coach Walker) as the kids call him, helps manage the Club Teen Center at the William N. Pennington Facility. Tabu has been Walker’s barber for over six years. They bonded over their mutual work with youth. Walker noticed a lack of basic services in the population he worked with.
“We have been keeping an eye on kids who needed haircuts.” Walker mentions that not everyone has access. With the onset of the new school year, they thought this would be a great opportunity to provide a simple service often overlooked.
What makes a man give up a busy Friday in service to the least of these? As Tabu put it, “if I have the opportunity to help, then why not?”
Contact information for Tabu McKnight:
Tabu’s of Reno Barber Lounge
905 W. 4th St. Suite 48
Reno, NV 89503
For more information on the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows, call 775-331-5437.