It wasn’t hard for Cedric the Entertainer to get back in the groove of Eddie. Twelve years separate the new “Barbershop: The Next Cut” from the 2004 sequel. But all the performer has to do is put on the wig, fall into the voice and he’s the same character he ever was: an old-timer who’s long cut hair in a South Side Chicago establishment run by Ice Cube’s Calvin. But there was another reason to return to the franchise, which started in 2002: Chicago has an epidemic of gang violence. That’s just one of many issues the new comedy raises, all while being serious as well as hilarious.
A lot has changed since the last “Barbershop” movie. Given how much these films engage with what’s going on in America, there are many reasons this film should exist.
We didn’t want to come back just to do another film — trash celebrities, joke about people. We thought it was important the movie had something to say. It’s natural that it’s about street violence going on in Chicago.
That becomes the main focus of the film. And it’s not quiet about being eager to find a way to fix the problem.
You see parents forced to watch young kids who have so much reckless abandon and don’t care about life. You seem them destroy neighborhoods where people have raised families and built businesses. To be in fear of your own block and your own kids — somebody’s got to say something. I love when Calvin [Ice Cube’s character] says that grown people shouldn’t be afraid to stand up and be grown. That’s what the movie is about.
It’s difficult to find real solutions. A lot of the bigger attempts to curb gang violence have failed.
Hopefully life will imitate art and people will see this film and be inspired to do small things in their community. You have to find people who are willing to fight for these young men who are out on the corner or riding around with guns in their cars. You need to have a conversation and solve it step-by-step. It’s going to take a community effort.