Barbershop book offers insight into Liberty City life

As soon as you walk into his barbershop, Royzell “Slice” Johnson is joking with you or talking to you, no matter if you’re an old or new customer. He puts his arm around you in a way that makes you feel comfortable in Liberty City.

Slice’s Classic Cutz has been open since 2018 and is in the heart of Liberty City. Johnson has been cutting hair for 30 years. He has done that all over South Florida, including Carol City and Opa-Locka.

Now, a book by Johnston’s nephew discusses the Liberty City community through the eyes of Johnson and his barbershop. “Slice’s Classic Cutz” is Aaron Jackson’s first book.

A book-release event on Friday was filled with about 50 people. The room was consistently filled with laughter. Organizers had free food for everybody, and were selling the new book and clothing.

“It is all about unity. People gravitate to the shop because they see the people here are real and they see Aaron and I are passionate about what we do,” said Johnson.

Jackson has been going to barbershops his entire life and was ecstatic when his uncle opened his own shop in his home town. He said the barbershop is very important to the community because of the client-barber relationship.

“It is therapy for some; a place where you can be at peace. In such a fast-paced world, the barbershop is where you can slow down and let go,” Jackson said.

He added that Slice has had an impact on his life, teaching him to become a better businessman and staying motivated in Liberty City.

Arnitra Donaldson is the owner of the soul food restaurant Seven Wings, which is expected to come to Liberty City in June. She praises what Johnson has done in the year in which he has owned the barbershop.

“He gives free haircuts to kids, stays engaged in the community and is just a nice person. He relates to the people in the area since he grew up around here and that is why people come back to the shop,” Donaldson said.  

Before writing his book, Jackson spent seven to eight months capturing pictures from the barbershop and studying the barbershop culture in depth. The book is a photo book that includes an interview about the culture of the barbershop.

Jackson said that the biggest takeaways he got from making the book were how the barbershop culture is formed and the ways of entrepreneurship.

“For some people in Liberty City, the best form of entrepreneurship is selling drugs,” he said.

He believes his uncle taught him the right way to go about entrepreneurship by getting his own shop in the neighborhood.

“This community has developed a lot since Slice has been here and it will only get better with time,” said Jackson.

From St. Petersburg, Florida, Quincy now studies journalism in Miami at Florida International University. He was a staff news writer at the student newspaper PantherNow and has experience writing and making packages about sports, controversial topics and Miami-related events.