Harlem celebrity barber Denny Moe is not only helping men to look their best with fresh haircuts, but also encouraging them to live their lives as healthy as possible.
From July 11th to July 13th, he hosted Cutting for A Cure, a 48-Hour health fair and Haircutting Marathon focused on providing resources and free screenings of deadly diseases like prostate cancer, high blood pressure, and cholesterol intake.
In a 2010 report by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the nationally weighted estimate for African Americans who visit the doctor’s office is only 11.6 percent.
“You couldn’t get me to see a doctor back then,” said Moe.
This same year, his attitude towards his health changed when he was diagnosed with type two diabetes.
“It was a struggle because I was blind for like two months” said Moe. “When I was diagnosed, I went to the emergency room. My glucose levels were 480. And when they gave me the medication to bring it down, that’s when [my] vision got blurry.”
Dr. Joseph Ravenell, assistant professor of population health at NYU’s School of Medicine, explained men of color often are employed in jobs that neither provides health benefits nor the time to take off to see the doctor.
“If they are not having symptoms, then there’s nothing that needs to be addressed,” said Ravenell. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Consequently, preventive diseases like heart disease is the number one killer of African Americans reported by the CDC.
However, Ravenell also mentioned that there’s a distrust of the medical community among African American and Latino men.
“Men trust their barbers, more than they trust their doctors,” said Ravenell.
Moe and Ravenell saw an opportunity to build off of that trust and steer Black men toward living healthier lives. Since their partnership, they’ve promoted healthier living in 100 barbers shops in New York City (mainly Harlem and Brooklyn) and that they’ve screened about 7000 black men over the age of fifty for high blood pressure.
Outside of Denny Moe’s Superstar Barbershop, health and community partners like Harlem Hospital lined the street distributing information and conducting free screenings.
“I’m older. I have to go to the doctor,” said Granville Mullings, 34, from Mount Vernon. “You start getting past your twenties; you don’t rebound like you used to, so you got to go to the doctor. Often.”