Have you ever walked past a poster, driven past a billboard or glanced at an ad in a magazine, and it was a man’s haircut that made you look twice? Well, if that man was Diddy, Usher or any number of other entertainers or athletes, then it was the work of Curtis Smith that caught your attention. Smith is hip-hop’s barber to the stars, but his impressive clientele also includes actors, sports figures and entertainment industry executives, making him one of today’s key cultural influencers. He has been Diddy’s barber and close friend for over 13 years, and as such has seen his cuts on album covers, movie posters and fashion ads the world over, supporting brands from Bad Boy Entertainment to Ciroc Vodka. Some would say Smith’s greatest creation was the “9CHawkie” haircut he developed for Diddy during 2004’s “Vote or Die” campaign. Smith’s original take on the mohawk went on to become a staple in hip-hop and sports, turning up seemingly everywhere you looked over the course of the next several years. As huge as that style became, Smith might have just done it again with the “South of France” cut that was created for Usher’s 2010-11 world tour and has since garnered international acclaim.
Smith values his personal relationships with his clients, as the perfect look is always to some degree an extension of the individual. In addition to Diddy and Usher, other celebrities and athletes who regularly ask Curtis Smith to work his magic include Will Smith, The Jacksons, Ray J, Ice Cube, Fonzworth Bentley, Russell Simmons, Swizz Beats, Derek Luke, Allen Iverson, Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard—and the list goes on. Smith is the recipient of the 2001 NAACP Small Business Award, the 2004 Oster Golden Clippers and the 2009 Gillette Man of Style Award. In addition to his work grooming his clients, Smith spends time grooming the next generation of top barbers. To this end, Smith founded the Barbers Round Table, a forum for networking among barbers, which meets twice annually in Atlanta.
The Braun Cruzer “Beard and Head” model is the perfect fit for Smith, who is always careful to explore every angle in crafting a cut, allowing a single style to take on different personalities when seen from different perspectives. Here he applies the “Beard and Head” to Complex Market Editor Matthew Henson at NYC's Blind Barber, giving him a hot new look that is fresh, clean and vintage Curtis Smith.