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

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.

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

Men’s Health & Awareness

In light of MOVEmber and the movement of mens health and awareness, I’ve chosen to highlight what has happened to me this past year. At the end of 2014, after a substantial amount of weight loss, I was diagnosed with hernia. This came as a shock to me because I’ve always felt physically invincible. I had to come to terms with the fact that I would be down and out for some time. At least, the average man would…so I was told.

The story goes like this, and I will try to be brief. I hopped out of the shower one morning after a session at the gym. I saw a small golf size bulge protruding from my groin area. I didn’t feel any pain but I noticed that I was able to push the bulge back in. This was my first clue that it might be  a hernia.  I’ve had some friends in the same situation so I went straight to  St. Mike’s Emergency to get a diagnosis. They confirmed what I already thought and made an appointment for me to get it all patched up.

Now this is information you need to know. After doing my research I found out in hospitals they insert a kevlar patch  to strengthen the weak area in your abdomen. This is not what you want to do! The kevlar patch moves over time and could potentially burst causing even more problems. Obviously they don’t tell you that!

We are so blessed in Ontario to have the best of the best in the medical field and I found it in beloved Thornhill. SHOULDICE HERNIA CLINIC! Hands down the best place in North America. Dr. Shouldice invented an extraordinary method during WWII in which soldier’s could recover faster and get back to the field. They sow you up with metal thread and it makes the area impenetrable permanently. Shouldice Hernia Clinic is the only place that does this procedure! I made my appointment in February 2015 and after my third night’s stay, I was feeling great.

Hernia Post Surgery

I was given a timeline of 6 weeks for no heavy lifting and 6-12 months full recovery. I..however, could work after 1 week (although my wife wanted me to stay at home). I was in the gym after 1 month and feeling 100% after 3 months!

My journey taught me a lot about hernia’s and through my conversations with customers I’ve found out that many of you are walking around with a hernia. Don’t be silly! We have all the resources at our disposal.

 

Get your physical and take care of your body its the only one that you’ve got. You very well could be the 1 in 4 that will develop a hernia in your lifetime! That’s a 25% chance people. Renew you!!

Peace & hair grease

Giving Thanks?

If you don’t believe in celebrating holidays or occasions then I totally understand where you’re coming from. I used to be you! But a friend of mine once told me a long time ago that I had to change my views on holidays because we need something to celebrate. And as I get older and wiser I actually have come to appreciate the holidays no matter what holiday it is.

This weekend is Thanksgiving and most of you out there do not know how or why this holiday came about. But as important as it is to find out the origin of things and understand why they exist, it is just as important to extract the good from them and embrace what the holiday means today. I’ve learnt that celebrating holidays gives you time away from your current day-to-day and a lot of people wont take that time out voluntarily. So we in turn need these holidays!

Sit back, play with your children, have a conversation with a parent or an elder, create new memories! Think back about the time that passed since last Thanksgiving. Ask yourself what has changed? What have you learned? What are you appreciative of? What have you lost? Don’t be afraid to dwell on your thoughts after all it’s your life! I think if you slow it down, take a breather and ask yourself these questions it will be very easy to enjoy your Thanksgiving and that does mean giving thanks.

 

Peace and hair grease