[Voices of Cabrini raw: George Robbins’s Barbershop]

Raw video shot for "Voices of Cabrini." Shot between 1995-1999, it documented the Cabrini Green redevelopment project proposed and carried out by the City of Chicago. This video was recorded inside George Robbins's barbershop at 456 W. Division Street. Conversation topics include gang violence, redevelopment in Cabrini-Green, and George Robbins's history as the neighborhood barber.

0:00Copy video clip URL Color bars. Audio of the production crew in George Robbins’s barbershop.

0:48Copy video clip URL Cut to George Robbins in his barbershop cutting a man’s hair. He discusses gang violence, a bullet going through his store, current redevelopment projects in Cabrini, and his own history as a resident.

4:02Copy video clip URL Robbins recounts the time a bullet tore through the barbershop’s southwest wall: “It broke about six pop bottles!…We could never find the bullet…”

6:51Copy video clip URL Robbins describes how most shootings were confined to the apartment complexes and did not usually end up in the street. The man getting his haircut says: “It was a lot different back then, now it’s all open [due to the demolition]…” He and Robbins discuss how different the neighborhood looks–with the new skyline view–after the initial demolitions.

9:35Copy video clip URL Robbins: “The city is supposed to give us help relocating.” He talks about the future of his business and where he might end up moving. Next, he refers to the new police headquarters and community center at Division and Clybourn.

11:12Copy video clip URL Robbins begins to recount his history in the neighborhood: “I was over at 1150 N. Larrabee–”

11:43Copy video clip URL Video cuts out.

11:49Copy video clip URL Cut back to Robbins. Robbins and his customers talk about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

14:49Copy video clip URL The man getting his haircut says that George Robbins has been his barber since he was a little boy, and that he comes back to the neighborhood to get his hair cut. Robbins completes the man’s haircut and the man gets up to leave. Robbins shakes out his apron and is then paid by the man.

18:26Copy video clip URL George Robbins’s brother, Moe, organizes his merchandise. George Robbins and director Ronit Bezalel chat and George gives his previous customer’s sideburns a quick trim.

20:19Copy video clip URL A new customer sits down for a hair cut. He has been coming to Robbins for a haircut since he was seven years old. Moe talks about recent gang activity and the potential for a serious political alliance: “They don’t realize they’re undermining themselves, their greatest strength is coming together…they’ve got to come together as a political element in the community…all they’re going to do is end up with some long jail terms.”

24:14Copy video clip URL The man getting his haircut wonders whether there are going to be more riots after another Chicago Bulls championship game. They discuss.

27:18Copy video clip URL They talk about how much things have changed after the assassination of Martin Luther King: “It was a bad place to be. Man, it has not been the same since.”

29:15Copy video clip URL Robbins: “We got a variety of gangs, all over the projects in the city of Chicago.” He talks about how gang members would identify themselves through colors, hats, and earrings: “If you wore your cap a certain way that you were a Disciple, a Cobra Stone, or a Deuce. If you wore it to this side you were something different…and if you wore it straight back you were neutral…” He talks about how gang members are hard to remove from a community, so some think that the best way to remove them is to destroy the public housing buildings.

32:09Copy video clip URL Robbins: “The kids have so much leisure time these days…they get into more trouble now.” Moe hands sunglasses to the man getting his haircut. They sell for $2.

33:32Copy video clip URL A young boy talks to the camera: “This is a good place to get your haircut.” Moe lauds the young boy’s mother. They talk about how the city is buying up all the property in the area.

36:33Copy video clip URL Moe Robbins: “No one wants to accept or believe that they’re going to tear a school or a church down…I can’t really believe they’re going to do it until it happens, and then I guess it’s something you have to accept because it’s a fact, but before then…I can’t imagine it…”

37:59Copy video clip URL Man getting his haircut: “So they’re going to relocate Ferguson School?” Robbins: “M-hm. They’re gonna tear Jenner down. They’re gonna tear Byrd down.” They talk about the new police headquarters and community center.

41:43Copy video clip URL They talk about the row houses and the naming of the area “Cabrini.” They talk about old businesses. The man’s haircut is finished. Audio feedback.

44:18Copy video clip URL The young boy sits down for his haircut.

45:15Copy video clip URL Robbins asks K.P. whether he remembers when the projects were built. K.P.: “No, they was here when I got here.”

46:16Copy video clip URL Moe’s grandnephew, Darryl Jr., enters the barbershop. He introduces the young boy and also his nephew, Darryl, who is also in the barbershop. Audio dampens and then cuts out completely. People in the barbershop appear to continue their conversation. Another young boy gets his hair cut.

1:02:24Copy video clip URL End of tape.



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