Is it me or is Valentine’s Day dying?

Have you seen a commercial this year for Valentine’s Day? Have you noticed the flower shops closing in your neighbourhood? Are you excited about getting your loved one flowers and chocolates? Or something niftier like a pair of socks or tickets to the Raptors game? Well you are not alone; I personally have not even noticed that we are creeping up on Valentine’s Day.

There is no doubt in my mind that the average person has caught on to the hoax and trickery that we have been fed all our lives. Valentine’s Day is all about consumerism which is all about us spending our hard-earned money. Just look at the calendar every month, we must have at least one day where we are guilted into spending money for no apparent reason.

I don’t want to come off as a grumpy grouch but this forum is for the truth and this is truthfully my opinion. We need to ban Valentine’s Day!  I don’t think 1 out of 10 people even know how the Day originated. We just fly out of our seats at lunchtime and scramble to get something (just anything) to bring home to our loved ones or else for some strange reason our whole relationship becomes compromised. This is disgusting and I will not put up with this pressure any longer.

Please take the egg shells from under my feet. I do not want to buy flowers. I do not want to buy a teddy bear. I do not want to buy chocolates. We do not want to be controlled or told what to do. I know I am not alone because as a barber I hear the grumblings starting in January every year. “I’m still trying to recover from Christmas and Valentine’s is around the corner.”

I love my wife! And I have no issue showering her with love and affection every day of the year. People, talk to your partner and tell them know how much you love them every day; don’t save it for 1 out of 365. Show them they’re more than flowers and candy.

So, let’s backtrack and go over what we discussed. Valentine’s Day is a joke! RIGHT!? It is slowly dying and becoming insignificant in our society. However, I’m not trying to bash Mr. Valentine, after all I have no idea who he is. All I’m trying to say is that we need to love each other daily and that does not have to include spending money on gifts. Love equals time and that’s the hardest and most precious gift you can ever give someone.

 

Peace & Hair grease

Instagram Friends

Sorry to open with a question, but do you consider your social media friends to be your real friends? Think about it. You share the same interests, the same values, you let each other in on the most important occasions in your life. You just don’t see them in person. But does that even matter? 

To tell you the truth, a social media friend might be more pleasurable then a friend you have to see, smell or sometimes tolerate until you build up the nerve to tell them that thing that bugs you. Like how you hate the way they chew their food! Ha! Okay, okay. I’m coming back down. But what about this. Have you realized that you might have a buddy on Instagram that you trade ‘likes’ with?
Months could pass and you get to experience their lives through the phone with pictures and short messages. Is this person a friend? For arguments sake let’s say that you feel like they are, especially after a few hilarious DMs. Do you find it strange knowing that you could walk by a person on the street and not know that it was, say, fly_ magnet_500_pretty_Rick? Or be sitting beside jokerwitapoker27 on the #2 line from Kennedy to Yonge, and not even know it?
I’ve brought this up because I’ve experienced this myself. Being in a shop with thousands of patrons I ‘like’ a lot of random pages, follow who follows me, and on and on. A customer mentioned something I had posted and approached me in a manner that was full of familiarity.
It took me a minute to put the face to the Instagram name but when I did I felt a feeling of friendship. This person and I had gone back and forth liking each other’s post. So this customer Instantly felt like a friend. Strange? Maybe so! But social media has definitely bridged gaps where distance had been an issue.
With this whole new world of ‘likes’ and ‘friends’ the direct meanings of these words are changing! As much as it has sped things up socially however, the depth of our interactions have shallowed. Head nods, grunts, groans and the stale answer of “GOOD” which seems to be the new E=MC squared, are taking the place of real conversation and facial expressions.
So in short I believe that social media friends ARE friends. It’s probably safe to say that they are not on the same level as the brethren you almost drowned with that summer down by the creek. And what social media is doing to our interaction with each other on a whole is an entirely different blog.
Renew you

Lest We Forget

To all who have a Father,  listen up!  This day has come around too may times with the same, lame old gift! A card and a tie. A sale for items you may think a Father might like. Some tools that may complete a set. A terrible breakfast that must be eaten to appease the “children’s god”. It may sound like someone is being ungrateful, however I urge you to read on.
In this first half of the year, we’ve seen quite a few men pass away.
  • Muhammad Ali, legendary boxer and social activist
  • Geordie Howe, the “Father” of hockey
  • Prince, legendary musician
  • Joseph Medicine Crow, incredible author
  • Maurice White of Earth Wind and Fire
  • Rene Angelia, husband to Celine Dion
  • Rob Ford, legendary mayor of Toronto
Now you may assume that all of these men are biological fathers because after all, this is a Father’s Day blog post. But not all are, that we know of. But what is quite clear is the appreciation we give them for their merits.
They have changed the way we look at sports, music, literature, government, politics and most importantly, ourselves. They have made us question our integrity, our physical and mental strength, our work ethic, our perseverance and the lens with which we look through life.
Being a true Father means you can only care about that goal! This doesn’t mean you disregard everything else. Actually, it means to stay focused on the goal in spite of everything else. All the aforementioned men had to deal with some type of “hate”. For Ali, it was the government. For Gordie Howe, it was the unknown ceiling of love for a sport. For Prince, it may have been his sexuality and how the world might perceive him. Joseph Medicine Crow battled the stereotypes of First Nations in the ignorant minds of the world. Even for Rob Ford, he had to battle a deadly cancer, hypocritical Politicians and a very scrutinizing world all the while battling for the regular “Joe” taxpayer.
Father’s don’t want gifts. We give gifts. The only gift that is unanimous is the one that lasts in the minds of those who appreciate great memories. These men have all produced great memories.
For all those who put Father’s Day in the same bag as other honourable days, I urge you to think about this next question. Would those days be memorable without the Father’s?
2016-06-19-PHOTO-00005194        2016-06-19-PHOTO-00005192
Lest we forget.

To All the ‘Mothers’

This Mother’s Day I’m taking the opportunity to reflect on someone who wouldn’t technically count as a mother but definitely played that role without any regard. That mother was my father.

I was 9 years old when my mother passed away. It was at this time when my father stepped in and became both my parents. What didn’t occur to me was the pain and loss he was going though.   As a child you feel like your loss is greater and  it’s hard for a kid to be empathize with how loss also affects “Daddy”.  This man lost his best friend, wife and life partner.  Then he performed this juggling act without showing us his underbelly of pain and all the things that go with a tragic loss.

I recently took a self improvement course and was asked to recall some early in my life that could have aided in my personality traits.  Looking back at this great loss at a young age,  I figured this was the beginning of when I learned to stand strong in the midst of anxiety by watching my father. “Work with what you got!”,  are the words that have resonated with me. Despite your weaknesses, despite your circumstances and in the face of adversity, “work with what you got!”.

This gentleman also made sure that the countless resources he had we’re also exhausted.  This included my 2 amazing sisters, many women in the church, school,  neighborhood and in my family that stepped up to help make me into the gentleman that I am today. Thank you all!

To my dad and the countless “Superwomen” in my life I want to say happy Mother’s Day.

Renew You

Who was Prince?

Prince.PurpleRain.OnyxBarbersAn unforgettable figure in the music industry has passed away, and it happened so suddenly and prematurely. It’s forced me to ask myself this question about one of my favourite artists. Who was Prince? A singer, an entertainer, a writer, a musician, a poet, a mentor or a talent scout? Was he all those things? I started to ask myself these questions last week when something very strange happened to me.

I was in a colleagues barbershop trading secrets when the news of Prince’s passing came up. We were commenting on how terrible and sudden the  information was when a customer chimed in and asked, who was Prince?

I said excuse me? What did you say? He repeated, “Who was Prince?” I was in shock! How is this possible? Have I been living in denial? Am I the only one to have seen Prince as one of the biggest entertainers and musicians of our time?

Instantly I started doubting myself. Then my colleague who is 28 years my senior and Italian confirmed my sentiments in his response. You don’t know who Prince is? I know what you all are thinking. The customer is probably a kid, right? Wrong! He is a grown man, thirty plus! And he’d honestly never heard of Prince. My mind was racing. How many others out there are ignorant to pop culture.

You don’t have to be into music to have heard of Prince. Am I right? Or am I wrong? Is Prince not on the level of Michael Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Bob Marley and Michael Jordan? He’s ICONIC! If you dropped any of these names in any parts of the world with any age group, they would at least find them recognizable, right? Maybe not! I need you, the public, to comment and give me your answers. Was he great? Was he eccentric? Was he an artist? Was he iconic? Who was Prince?

Renew you.

Rob Ford – Good or Evil?

I wanted to wait a bit before I touched this one because I feel it’s a sensitive issue. I know you as, a viewer, have noticed what’s happened. Rob Ford (may he rest in peace) has passed away and I haven’t heard or seen anything negative about him in the media whatsoever. I’ve witnessed people grieving, giving condolences, a parade and long lines filled with scores of people all waiting to pay their respects. Also, at least a dozen of his peers publicly gushing over the great effort he put into his job. Is this the media? Or is it the people? Which ever it is, we have a problem!
Someone is feeding us, the viewer, the wrong information. When Rob Ford was in office the media portrayed him as an incompetent, insensitive blow-hard that was one step away from prison and one sniff away from the crack house. I almost wondered if it were all some sort of scam! How could this man in a democratic society be voted in when no one likes him?
Or is that what they would have us think? Even during the ups-and-downs of Rob’s fight with cancer, the respect for his family and privacy was slim. But now he’s gone, and the condemners are applauding his efforts and memory. “Cared about the tax payers” they say. “Always working for the people” they say. Call me crazy, but I don’t think hundreds of people lined up to see his coffin at city hall because he was a terrible man. I don’t think citizens were crying on national television over a man they’ve never met because he was a poor leader! What I think (and this is solely my opinion) is that Rob Ford exposed the brotherhood of politics and moved in his own lane. No one likes that! They didn’t like that!
I believe he did his job to the best of his ability and I believe his intentions were good. In the end, you can’t cover up good intent. When you attend a man’s funeral you will learn everything you need to know about his life and how he lived it by who shows up. I’ve been to empty funerals by so called good people. Rob Ford’s funeral was packed and it was an event. That’s organic, that’s REAL!
May God be with him and his children.
Renew you.

Prank On!

April 1st is rolling around again and we would love to know, do you participate in April Fool’s pranks? Or is that something we just see in the movies? We’d love to know who still performs pranks on April fools. Cause at Onyx Barbers we DO!

Nothing beats watching your friends and close ones sweat and squirm as they succumb to your trickery. I have no idea how this tradition started but I can speak for myself when I say I have definitely taken advantage over the years.

We would love to hear from the Onyx customer world on some of the best pranks they’ve managed to pull off over the years and even ones that you were the butt of. Is pranking overrated? Is it more about laughing at someone? Is it MEAN? These are questions I’d love to get feedback on.

If pranking is more about hurting than tricking a buddy in a way in which you both can appreciate after, then I am definitely a bad guy! And we in the shop are all villains! But it feels so good.

PRANK ON!

Renew you

Pushing Popz

I got a lot of hints about the reality of health in 2015. I found out that 1 in every 4 men get a hernia and I lost two friends last year to heart attacks at the age of 36. I am only in my mid thirties, but that was a wake up call. It’s time to go back to the doctor.

I would say most black men between 18 and 38 do not trust doctors or go to hospitals to even get check ups on there body. Even when they experience discomfort or pain.  I decided I’ll go get my tests done and to share anything I’ve learnt to help curb this stigma.  I ended up being ok and clear of the major stuff, including prostate cancer or hernia. Thankfully I didn’t need any surgery.

I had no idea however that I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels for my age.  High blood pressure and high cholesterol can lead to stoke or heart attack.  We can prevent ourselves from getting sick by changing our habits such as dieting and having an exercise regiment. My doctor recommended that I loose 30lbs and change my diet completely.

I took immediate action by simply cutting out a few things from my diet and within 1 month, I lost 16 lbs. If I could do this with very little discipline, imagine what I could do with a professional trainer. You know we at Onyx Barbers love challenges so the guys teamed up with Body by Chosen and gave me a serious challenge. I’m taking boot camp 3 times a week from Body by Chosen to see what type of real transformation can happen to my body in 3 months.

Let's keep #PushingPopz to be healthier

Let’s keep #PushingPopz to be healthier

 

My goal is that with a stricter diet and a real gym work out, I can lose 25 lbs. in 3 months. It’s going to be tough considering I have never worked out in a gym.  This is going to be a whole new lifestyle change for me but I accept the challenge.

 

I will keep updating you on my progress but I ask for your support in return. Join the team at Onyx Barbers as they continue Pushing Popz. Engage with us online and increase your chances of winning Body By Chosen athletic wear.

–> Popz the Barber

Holiday Food Drive 2015

This year ONYX Barbers did something that I am very proud of. We organized our very first food drive! This is something that is near and dear to our hearts because it primarily and directly helps the community. Our food drive was kicked off on November the 15th and ended on December 20th. Those of you who have been in the shop probably saw a nice big red barrel in the front.

We want to say a big THANK YOU for dropping off the following items rice, baby food, tomato sauce, pasta sauce, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, pasta, juice boxes, condiments, cereal, canned fruit and canned vegetables.

We matched all of the items and sent them off to Dr. Roz’s Healing Place in Scarborough for the Holidays. (Click here for more information about Dr. Roz and her Centre) It’s a beautiful place.

 

Dr Roz 2015

 

Thank you all for pitching in and making the holidays extra special for Dr. Roz and the people she reaches.

Renew you

Welcome Them

Regardless of what you think, they are coming! Sorry to start so bold but I am catching feelings on this one. Why are people so hung up on how many Syrian refugees are coming over or if they should come at all. As far as I’m concerned the conversations we should be having are housing, jobs and effectively blending them into our safe environment as soon as possible. Not whether they can enter or not.

PEOPLE ARE DIEING! And we’re not as far from it as you think. It is our duty to help our fellow man! That is it! That’s why you’re here. People need help, you need to help! It’s the easiest equation in the world. Some of you couch potatoes have forgotten what built this country. Well I’ll tell you. IT WAS PEOPLE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES! Shutting them out is like putting a limit on our growth as a nation.

Everyone wants to point the finger while beating their chest chanting ” I’m a real Canadian ” well, what the heck does that mean. It brings me back to a conversation I had in high school with a fellow classmate claiming to be a true Canadian. What makes you more Canadian than anyone else?  I said. We were all born here! And your GRANDFATHER came from another country. YEAH! BUT HE WON A STANLEY CUP WITH THE LEAFS! So as you can see there are great minds behind this struggle of keeping everyone here and not letting anyone else in.

We’re all Canadian people! No one man better or more qualified than the other to be so. So remember the next time someone asks you where you’re from and they don’t take Canada for an answer because you might be a visible minority. Ask them where they are from and watch the sparks fly. By the way the longest running Canadian I know is a black man who’s family has been here since the 1700s. I got a little of track, I told you this was a sensitive topic. Bottom line don’t let them in WELCOME THEM IN.

Renew you