HARLEM — When Dennis Mitchell was diagnosed as diabetic, just a few years after his dad died from cancer, he decided to do something to make his community think about its health.
Mitchell, known to the Harlem community as Denny Moe and for his barbershop of the same name, began a health fair at his shop.
“I was devastated,” Mitchell said of his diagnosis. “(Black men) have a tendency to not go to the doctor.
“But this barbershop is a men’s haven… and we can talk about health on a men’s basis. I believe that sharing is key.”
This weekend, Denny Moe’s Superstar Barbershop, at 2496 Frederick Douglass Blvd., will kick-off its annual 48-hour non-stop haircut marathon and health fair, dubbed Cutting for a Cure.
The event started Friday afternoon and will continue until Sunday. There will be a barber battle and a mini-concert featuring Tony-Award winner Melba Moore, among others.
Aside from free haircuts, mobile health care providers will line the street handing out pamphlets, providing condoms and doing various health screenings and STD testing.
Dozens of community members gathered Friday morning and hundreds are expected over the course of the non-stop marathon. Twelve barbers that the shop has attracted locally and from across the globe are also participating.
Mitchell said the event is open to everyone, but he specifically wants to raise awareness of the health disparities of African American men like himself.
Heart disease, cancer and strokes are some of the leading causes of death among African Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.