ROBERT’O Beauty and Barber Salon
sits on a busy part of E. Seven Mile Road in Detroit.
Ned was seated in his chair awaiting a customer, while the owner Larry was handling a customer. “ We are not barbers, we are hair stylists’.
They carry on the tradition of sculpting hair.
A quiet man, Larry was in the process of styling the hair of a long time friend, Roger. He was happy to fill in Belgium documentary filmmaker Luc Vrydaghs and I on the fine points of hair grooming; maintenance, carefully selected clothing, alligator shoes and the whole presentation of his public image. Luc and I were scouting for a Detroit barbershop for an upcoming international documentary.
We quickly learned from Roger that if your hair is handled properly it will hold its design for 2-3 weeks. “My barber has been part of my family for 30 years, and I am 70 years old.
While talking with Roger, Jack strolls into the shop, and sits down in Ned’s chair for his scheduled appointment. Jack drives to Detroit from Toledo to get his hair styled…”only Ned touches my hair”.
Parallel, Larry continues to prepare Roger’s hair.
“This is a black man’s country club, a place that is good for you. Who cares for you most? You mother, your father, your barber!”
Turns out that Larry and his wife Nora (both 70) have been in the hair business for 54 years. Larry has a strong connection to Motown artists and continues to care for the hair of Dennis Edwards, former lead singer of the Temptations, and now leading his own group, Dennis Edwards and the Temptations Review. I have seen their act once, complete with blue sequin studded outfits and the classic Motown dance steps. Quite amazing.
A little later on we learn that not only does Larry have a long relationship to Motown and Detroit gospel artists, he is the manager of The Dramatics ! –
What You See, Is What You Get !