On Saturday April 2, 2016, students from Universities around North America joined a conference call hosted by Warner Brothers with stars of Barbershop: The Next Cut, Ice Cube and Anthony Anderson. It has been over 10 years since Barbershop 2: Back in Business was released, and as Ice Cube noted, “the world is ready for another Barbershop, the world needs another Barbershop.” He expanded on the issues happening in Chicago regarding gun violence and how the film’s narrative draws parallels with these issues. Ice Cube’s characters’ son is “at that crossroads; is he going to stay a good kid or is he going to start hanging out on the streets?” Anderson noted that though our world outside of the film has changed around us considerably in 12 years, “the Barbershop never changes.” Anderson continues to say that the community Barbershop creates includes “therapy session(s), marriage counselling, (and) rites of passage(s) for young men.”

When I had the opportunity to ask a question, I directed it to Ice Cube and my focus was writing for films:

Erin Ray: So you are no doubt one of the most influential hip hop lyricists, so how does your lyric writing influence your screenwriting and also the message that are in your films?

Ice Cube: Well, I think the way my lyric writing has helped my screen writing is being able to tell a story, being able to take your thoughts and put them on paper, being able to take your thoughts and project them where a person can understand what you’re talking about.  I think that all helps in writing because it’s virtually the same thing in a way as far as trying to get the ideas out your head, onto paper, where people can understand what you’re talking about. So I think it helps a lot.  Matter of fact, when I first start writing, it was John Singleton who directed me in Boyz n the Hood; he looked at me one day and he was like, yo, when you going to write a script? And I go, what are you talking about?  I don’t know how to write a script. He was like, well, you can write those lyrics, you can write those records; I know you can write a script if you put your mind to it. And it was the best thing I’ve ever done in the industry, even over acting, is writing because everything starts with the material. You can sit back and want people to give you good stuff, or you can just go write you some good stuff. You can want somebody to put you in a movie, or you can go write a movie that you know you’re in already.  So those to me are the keys to trying to solidify your career in Hollywood, especially as a black actor.

Though 15 minutes is never enough time to have a conversation with Anderson and Ice Cube, both men were clearly passionate and excited that this film was being released at such a poignant time. With an all star cast including Common, Nicki Minaj and Cedric the Entertainer, Barbershop: The Next Cut hits theatres tomorrow, April 15, 2016!

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