G-dot’s style helps barber shop earn nomination for Steve Harvey award
By Damon Arnold
As much as Michelle Glenn likes most of the offering of service on social media, she isn’t one to grab any of the deals. But she just couldn’t resist giving Gerrod LaVont’ Russ a shot.
She was that enticed by what the former military man offered as a barber. She wasn’t disappointed after getting a haircut from the barber affectionately known as “G-dot.”
“I was sold after my first appointment,” said Glenn. “There is nothing that is impossible or too big for G-dot. If you bring him a photo and say ‘this is what I want’ there is a 1000 percent chance that you’re going to leave with exactly that.”
It’s been just one year since Russ began cutting hair at Casanova’s Hair Studio, a shop nestled in a small strip mall off West Tennessee Street. But the 28-year-old has been rapidly establishing a large clientele to the surprise of his counterparts.
Russ has become such a hit that his style has put Casanova’s on the list of nominees for the Steve Harvey Neighborhood Awards as one of the best barber shops in the Southeast.
He credits a lot of what he does to his years in the military
“I’m always going to be ahead of my competition because military trained me to be this machine,” said Russ. “They taught me to have loyalty, honesty, respect, honor, and integrity. That’s what my cuts come with.”
In part, his customers attribute his rapid rise to his willingness to go the extra mile. And he does so without an extra charge for service that otherwise wouldn’t be free.
“A haircut has to last,” said Glenn. “My haircut lasts me at least two weeks and the only reason that it lasts that long is because G-dot knows my hair. He knows that I get lazy or I get caught up with life and I’m unable to make it back on a weekly basis. He takes into consideration my personal life and the type of hair that I have.”
Russ, who grew up in Quincy, picked up the trade from his god brother after returning from a seven-year stint in the Army. Being a barber was an easy transition, Russ said, because he’d spent a lot of time preparing himself to be the best.
In addition to watching for several months how his god brother perfected the art of being a barber, Russ invested time watching videos on how to get better at the trade. It didn’t take long for him to begin moonlighting with the clippers after leaving his full time-job in the optical center at Wal-Mart.
Russ doesn’t just do the traditional haircut and razor shave, beard trim, but also uses a technique known as microfiber to assists with receding hair or just to further sharpen the haircut.
Microfiber “hairs” spray is a thinning solution that is designed to attach and stick to each strand of hair to give it a fuller appearance.
The microfiber touch is one of the services that Russ provides for free.
“Most barbers ask you ‘Do you want a razor’ and charge you an extra dollar or ‘Do you want this?’ and charge you two dollars,” said Russ. “With me and my craft, this is a combined deal. My haircut wouldn’t be a G-dot the Barber haircut without the razor. I can’t give you a haircut without the razor being included. Without the razor is a half cut because my quality cut is a razor edge, hair fibers if you need it, the whole nine yards, and that’s all combined into one price.”
Dietavion Brown, a friend of 12 years, simply enjoys the perfection.
“His service and ability to cut is like none other, and he’s passionate about what he does,” said Brown. “He perfects every haircut.”