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Michael’s a cut above

Giving back: Michael Chamberlian owner of 5-Star Barbershop and pioneer of the Back 2 School Extravaganza gives St. Davids Primary School student Jah’nauhaj Crane 5, a haircut (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

For one barber, giving back to the local community has always been a priority.

Michael Chamberlain, the owner of 5 Star Barbershop, is the brain behind the Caines brothers’ annual Back 2 School Extravaganza.

He was barbering at home in Jamaica until a friend mentioned a great opportunity in Bermuda.

“I first started giving haircuts for free ten years ago in Bermuda. I’ve been here for 12 years now,” said the 45-year-old. “The first time that I did it, everyone supported me. I’ve been doing barbering from the first day I came to Bermuda to now.

“I came here on contract but when I decided to go out on my own and own my own business, the kids, the fathers, the mothers, everybody supported me so I told myself that it is my time to now give something back to the community.”

Partnering with Dwayne, Wayne and Travis Caines, Mr Chamberlain decided to take the movement to the next level by branding the event, securing sponsors and changing the venue to St Paul Centennial Church Hall to better suit the amount of children attending.

“Brother Caines was cutting at my shop, close to my station and said that back-to-school haircuts were a nice idea. From there it has just kept growing to this level.

“Seriously, I feel good that the event has grown because I knew after the first year that it was going to get bigger and better.

“After the first year I said next year we need a hall, some place big where we can have barbers all over Bermuda to participate. The first year there were 70 kids standing outside my shop on the sidewalk in the heat, sweating so I said ‘woah’, next year we need to have some place where it is comfortable, cool and relaxing.

“I knew that it was going to blow up; the kids have grabbed on to it and every year they have looked forward to it. As long as I am in Bermuda doing barbering, it will be my job to do this every year.”

However, this isn’t the only thing Mr Chamberlain does to stay a cut above — he “loves to give back” and is quick to do anything for people in need.

“I might go to the supermarket and see mothers there with young kids and I would just tell her to take everything they need and I’ll pay for it. I go to gas stations and see people on bikes, my spirit just tells me to fill up that bike for that person. That’s just my style, that’s who I am.

“I go to Western Union to send money back to my country and if I see someone in line, I would ask them ‘is your mother alive?’ and if they say yes I would give them some money and tell them to send it to their mother.

“The reason why I adopted this style is because I know about hard times, roughness, toughness and the feeling. So I think that God has helped me to get to a level where I can help my brothers and my sisters and give them something to keep going.”

Mr Chamberlain is adamant that he doesn’t do what he does for respect or medals and that his acts of kindness are “simply from the heart”.

He added: “I have to thank the Father, first for everything, no matter what’s going on in this day and age, he is the leader.

“The Caines brothers, because they are my brothers, they push me and 5 Star to the limit and I love that.

“I want to thank everyone in Bermuda, the young, the old, everybody — we are one, we need to look out for one another and things will go better.”