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5 Under 40:
Daude Jelani Sekou Harrell

Daude Jelani Sekou Harrell, 38
Barbers on Duty President; Harrell’s and Sons Barber Shop Co-owner; state-licensed barber; instructor at Central Georgia Technical College; youth advocate

Tell us about your job and why you chose your career field.
Harrell’s and Sons has been located in historic Greenwood Bottom in downtown Macon since 1965. My grandfather was an entrepreneur who wanted to pass down his love and gift of barbering and working in the community. My father, myself, and my two sons work at Harrell’s and Son’s as third and fourth generation barbers. 

I chose my career field because at an early age, my grandfather taught me how important a role the barber played in the community. Some of his famous quotes were, “How you present yourself is how you get paid,” and “You can find anyone to cut your hair, but a good barber is hard to come by.” After graduating from Youth Challenge Academy, I attended Central Georgia Technical College for my Master Barber License. I have been working in my field for over 20 years. 

Tell us about your activities in the community, especially what you’re most excited about.
I’m president of Barbers on Duty, a nonprofit that shapes up the future, one child at a time. My career as a barber allowed me to be hands-on with many children and build a close relationship with them. Over the past two decades, I have lost several boys and girls to the same system that almost destroyed me and that destroyed my friends and family. This led me to see that as a barber my duties extend far beyond the chair. Reaching back into the community to give the youth an opportunity to see better and do better became my life mission. 

Through Barbers on Duty, at-risk children receive mentorship in what we call the four platforms. The first is entrepreneurial awareness, and we focus on the trades. Teach a child to fish, and he can feed his family for a lifetime. We offer events to expose youth to opportunities for becoming financially independent through trades like barbering, mechanics, or carpentry. The second platform is strategic thinking. We talk about long-term decision-making strategies and teach the game of chess. The third platform is life skills. We offer classes and mentorship about financial literacy, home economics, voter education, time management, hygiene education, etiquette, and dressing for success. The fourth platform is athletics. Athletics teach discipline, increase health outcomes, and bring positivity to their lives. 

I also co-own a boxing gym which serves 20 Middle Georgia children and volunteer to teach free classes through Macon-Bibb County’s Parks and Recreation department. I’ve been an amateur boxing coach for 10 years. One student, Christian Brown, is now a professional boxer with a 2-0 record.  

What are you personally committed to accomplishing in Macon and why?
Create job opportunities for our upcoming youth to stop the violence. Save our youth from the streets and gang activity. Change the stigma of our African American culture concerning violence, poverty, and the wealth gap. Teach our youth and parents how to be entrepreneurs and create generational wealth for their families. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievement is being an active and involved father in my children’s life, education, career, healthcare, and well-being. I have the opportunity to teach them about barbering; also, their friends and classmates give them better career opportunities than I had growing up. I have a duty and obligation to pass down all my experiences, knowledge, wisdom, educational training, and generational wealth. It gives me purpose to teach them how to be respectable, responsible, accountable, reliable, and dependable young men in today’s society. I believe in excellence in mind, heart, body, soul, and spirit. 

What does it mean to be a good leader?
Becoming a good leader is being ready to sacrifice your time for the greater good of your community. Also, being able to make sacrifices needed for the greater good of the people you are leading.

What needs to change to encourage continued progress in our city?
Poverty, by helping all to have access to housing, education, more industries for career opportunities, and opportunities to build generational wealth. 

What is your vision for our community?
We even out the resources that poverty-stricken communities in Macon have and create wealth for their families. We encourage and embrace a caring environment that fully supports persons of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and needs. Our person-centered approach is founded on the belief that building a relationship begins with establishing faith, hope, love, and trust in each other. We are committed to “making dreams come true” in the lives of the persons we serve, their families, our community, and each other. 

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