Cartoon characters, geometric shapes and 9/11 memorials carved into multi-colored scalps filled Amnesia NYC, the midtown club where nearly 50 competitive barbers from across the country and as far as London gathered Monday to strut their stuff in the second annual New York Barber Battle.
The floor gradually disappeared under a carpet of hair as stylists frantically but carefully shaved their artistry into their models’ heads, trying to outdo each other in precision, color, style, speed and, most important, creativity.
More women and out-of-state competitors turned out than last year, said battle founder Kamal Nuru, who had to find a larger venue to accommodate the competitors, barbershop aficionados and industry reps promoting everything from hypo-allergenic shears to colorful pens for precise designs.
Among the competitors: 29-year-old Enrico Charles, better known as Rico London, a stylist at Levels Unisex on East 124th Street and Lexington Avenue. Having placed third in last year’s battle, Rico London was determined to win top honors in his category: design battle with color. “I like titles,” he said. “Everybody comes here for that number one spot.”
Apart from “blinging” trophies, the best barber stood to win over $5,000 in cash and prizes, including some of the latest in barbering products on exhibit at the event. In addition, the contestant who won in two categories walked away with a custom-made barber chair.
The guest judges’ repertoires were impressive with the cream of celebrity craniums among their clientele, including P. Diddy and Jay Z.
Will Rico London be a cut above the rest or will it be a close shave? Watch the audio slideshow to find out.