Spike Lee’s Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads

Alece Oxendine

Spike Lee’s first film Joe’s Bed Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads serves as a reminder that regardless of where you start in filmmaking, you can always be great. Now, I’m not saying that this film was a total loss, but the film showcases humble beginnings for such a promising career.

BAMcinématek exhibited a wonderful 16mm print of the film as part of their Spike Lee retrospective (with some more great films playing through July 10!).

Joe’s Bed Stuy Barbershop tells the story of Zack, a barber who takes over after the owner Joe is killed by local gangsters. As he tries to keep the barbershop legitimate, the same gangsters who took out Joe try to run the numbers game out of the shop again. I believe they filmed near Franklin Ave, a much different place than it was 30 years ago.

We see a young Spike (behind not in front of the camera)…

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