Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s ‘Evolved Man of the Week’ profiles. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved man, famous and non-famous men alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to the barber, homelessness advocate, Philadelphia native, and owner of Empowering Cuts, Joshua Santiago.
Joshua Santiago grew in a home where both his parents were addicts. His father raised him and his older brother. His dad would often cut him and his brother’s hair. It inspired him to want to become a barber as a young boy. His father was a functional addict and took care of Josh until he reached the age of eighteen. Unfortunately, Joshua had a rough upbringing. He spent his youth getting into a lot of trouble as he proclaims. In 2013, he was arrested and locked up for drug possession.
When he came home in 2014, the top bullet on his agenda was getting enrolled in barber school. He dreamed of being a barber since he was a kid. Finally, in a position to follow his dream and have found the motivation to do so by being a father, Santiago enrolled in the American Beauty Academy in Wilmington, Delaware. His commute could total up to four hours a day, but he was dead set on graduating the 14-month program. Part of the program consisted of traveling to homeless shelters to cut hair.
Upon completion of barber school, Joshua took on a job as a professional barber and Uber driver. Joshua still wanted to give back to those that were less fortunate. He founded Empowering Cuts, which gives haircuts to the homeless a few times a month across various throughout the country. His goal is to transform a camper, recently purchased, into a mobile barbershop, to provide haircuts for homeless people in a more comfortable atmosphere on a more regular basis. He knew a fresh haircut, and a shave could boost a person’s self-esteem and give someone who is struggling a small piece of their humanity back. Notably, in a society that often shuns and dehumanizing those who are homeless and less fortunate.
Here is Joshua Santiago in his own words about why he created Empowering Cuts:
“The ultimate goal to Empowering Cuts is to bring more awareness to homelessness.”
Today we honor Joshua Santiago as our Evolved Man of the Week.