At the Celeb Styles Barbershop in metro Atlanta’s Snellville community, everybody’s treated like a star.
Shop owner Carl Sylvain says his business is “for the people” and welcomes everyone, so he was beyond shocked when he received a racist letter in the mail telling him and other nearby Black businesses to scram.
“When I first opened it, I thought to myself, ‘Is this a joke?'” Sylvain told Atlanta Black Star, calling the letter “hurtful” and “offensive.” The skilled barber, who’s served celebrity clientele and worked on shows like MTV’s “Wild n’ Out,” said he was initially unsure if he should come forward.
“I didn’t want to give them that power,” he said. “And I didn’t want to spread negativity. Whoever this is, this is just one person who decided to write this cowardly letter.”
Slyvain’s shop was one of three businesses in the Snellville Oaks Shopping Center reportedly targeted with the racist hate mail last week, local station CBS 46 first reported. Nearby Gravity Trampoline Park, which is also Black-owned, and Burn Boot Camp also received the letter.
The memo, simply labeled “URGENT,” read: “To whom it may concern, we in the Snellville community want it to be known we don’t want anymore ‘n—-r businesses in our community. We want gravity, caleb [sic] barbershop and boot camp gone.”
“Too many n—-r businesses,” it added. “We will not support them.”
Slyvain has since filed a police report, but he said authorities don’t have any leads on possible culprits just yet. Snellville police have stepped up patrols in the area and are working to run fingerprints on the letter. However, the barber believes the cops may have better luck lifting DNA from the seal.
“[They] had to lick the letter,” he said.
Sylvain’s barbershop has been open for about eight months now, and he said he’s received nothing but support from the community. So this racist letter isn’t something he could’ve seen coming.
He added that the memo isn’t a reflection of the neighborhood he moved to just a short time ago.
Sylvain vowed not to let this incident deter him from his work and passion of pouring into his local community. Last year, he teamed up with comics DC YoungFly, Chico Bean and Karlous Miller of the “85 South Show” for a charity event where he gave away over 200 free haircuts and handed out book bags and even groceries.
For Sylvain, it’s about giving his haters a “front row seat” to his success.
“We’re here to serve the human race,” he added. “We’re here to serve the good people. We’re here to stay.”
Watch more in the video below.