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Calvin and the crew are back for the third time to provide the crucial chronicles of the barbershop. Starring Ice Cube, Cedric the Entertainer, Nicki Minaj, Regina Hall, Deon Cole, and Common, “Barbershop: The Next Cut” balances the success of the barbershop with the failures of Chicago’s gritty streets.

We all know that barbershops (and hair salons) play a pinnacle, pivotal role in the community.  Barbershop owner Calvin (Ice Cube), his staff, and customers has plans to make an impact on the South Side of Chicago by ending the violence.

The police brutality, gang activity, and gun violence in Chicago is undoubtedly a national security issue.  Lately, this crucial topic has spilled over into the entertainment industry.  “Barbershop: The Next Cut” made the topic its platform as well as Spike Lee’s latest project, “Chi-Raq” (2015).

Director Malcolm D. Lee’s variation of Chicago’s recent spike in violence is softer and warmer than “Chi-Raq”.  Despite Barbershop’s more inviting approach, the topic is the same. The violence in the windy city is a deep, dark plague on the Black community.

What the movie lacked in hard core depiction of actual Chicago violence, it made up for in story-telling, comedy, and domestic familiarity.  Even in Pittsburgh, we have our own experiences with excessive gun violence. It’s hard to find a solution and it’s even harder coping with the pain.

It seems as if everything Ice Cube touches turned to gold.  With other notable film series such as “Friday”, “Ride Along”, “21 Jump Street”, and “Are We There Yet”, the N.W.A. rapper has broken entertainment barriers.  He is a household name in acting and producing.

Margot

Margot Bingham and Nicki Minaj Barbershop

The ladies of Barbershop were a breath of fresh air.  The ladies in the hair salon were introduced in the second Barbershop installment, Back in Business.  One of the many new female faces is Margot Bingham.  The ABC TV star is a Pittsburgh native and 2006 Pittsburgh CAPA graduate who plays “Bree” in the movie.  She bright, beautiful, and a well-poised representation of the Steel City.

Poor Little Nicki Minaj. The rap queen took a stab as a sultry, seductive beautician in the film. Her acting attempts are partially pitiful.  Retaining her hip hop throne should remain her focal point in every professional aspect, because between this and “The Other Woman” (2014), I was not impressed.  Nicki Minaj was pretty much playing herself– like Nicki Minaj as Nicki Minaj.

“Barbershop: The Next Cut” is better than “Barbershop 2: Back in Business” (2004), which leads me to believe that this series can get better.  Despite the 12-year gap, this series has sustainability.  Funny from beginning to end, this movie is a well-crafted must-see.
4 STARS

Merecedes J. Howze, Movie Scene Queen (Brian Cook/Golden Sky Media)

Merecedes J. Howze, Movie Scene Queen (Brian Cook/Golden Sky Media)

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