NewsMeet the 60-Year-Old Black Barber with Only One Functioning Arm

Meet the 60-Year-Old Black Barber with Only One Functioning Arm

Nationwide — Harold Brown, a 60-year-old barber from New York City, proudly claims the title of “the best one-armed barber in the world.” With only his right arm skillfully working on the razor, he continues to prove himself as a teacher at the American Barber Institute.

Born with a nonfunctioning left arm due to a birth defect, Brown has faced several challenges growing up in Jamaica Queens. He was called hurtful names, leaving him with a constant need to prove himself. He then took a wrong turn into a life of crime, spending over 30 years in and out of prison.

While behind bars, a fellow inmate named Desperado taught him how to cut hair which ultimately changed his life. Brown honed his skills through determination and practice, learning to work with all hair types.

“I was tired of doing wrong. I needed to do something right in life. I was at rock bottom and in jail. I had nothing, nowhere to turn,” he told PIX11.

Returning to society, Brown found his calling in barbering. He started at a Harlem shop and later became a teacher at the American Barber Institute in Manhattan. Teaching others became a passion for him, and he proudly shared his expertise with his students.

Despite having just one arm, Brown never considered it a real obstacle in his career.

“I never had two hands to use in learning the craft of barbering, so I always had to use one hand,” he said. “I had to learn to use a razor and had to learn how to use the machines. Once I learned it, I got it. The hardest part about cutting hair with one arm is when a person sees you with one arm and doubts you.”

Barbers are known for their precision, and Brown is no exception. He believes that every barber must have a “razor hand.” Brown takes pride in his students, like Humberto Heras, who now also teaches the craft.

“Despite what anyone else might think of you, if you love yourself and believe in yourself, you can make it,” Brown said.



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