This one-hour verité documentary shows a day in the life of a successful barbershop on Harlem's 125th Street. The film shows the vital role community barbershops play as a forum for black men to discuss any topic, whether controversial or banal, sacred or profane, political or personal, in an environment of heated debate and/or male fellowship. Topics discussed in the film include HIV/AIDS, infidelity, gay marriage, greedy preachers, Bill Clinton, the world's sexiest actresses, and more. Though in some ways this is a quintessential black barbershop, where macho attitudes often prevail, women do play a role in the shop's conversations, and with the increasing gentrification of the area, a number of diverse clients (including a white gay man) occasionally enter the mix.
Spirited, funny and fast-paced, Cutting Edge takes an informal, inside look at Levels, a bustling barbershop located in the heart of Harlem. As the opening narration explains, barbershops are "the nexus of all black male life: young, old and everything in between. It's where brothers come to show love and get the latest styles... As barbers, we consider ourselves craftsmen, artists. Using clippers like a paintbrush, a man's head is a canvas. But above all, a shop is a place where brothers come to converse: to rhyme, to clown, to wage verbal warfare about race, politics, sex, our kids, our relationships, our struggles, our joys... [It is] our town hall, our sanctuary."
Produced by Amani Martin, Joseph June Morris and S. Reginald Williams; Directed and Produced by Bill McCullough; Director of Photography: Henry Adebonojo; Original Music by Bill McCullough and John Wiggins; Supervising Editor: Bill McCullough; Edited by Gideon Brown; Written by Amani Martin. For Cinemax Reel Life: Production Executive: Susan Benaroya; Supervising Editor: Geof Bartz; Supervising Producer: Jacqueline Glover; Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins.