2 gangs find common ground at barbershop - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

2 gangs find common ground at barbershop

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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EAST MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Two notorious Mid-South gangs, known for violent criminal activity, unconscionable blood spilling and gun violence, are slowly finding common ground -- in of all places at a barbershop.

The owner and coworker, former and current gang members have discovered, when the colors are off, the differences are almost non-existent.

Once you walk into the Red Carpet Barbershop in East Memphis, the immediate understanding is that you're on neutral ground.

"These guys that's from Sheffield and Wooddale," said Marquis Frazier, barbershop owner. "They been growing up together with each other, but they can't stand each other. They couldn't stand each other on sight."

In the distorted and volatile world of rival gangs, Crips and Bloods never mix. It's forever blue against red, but if they cross, the encounter is often ruthless and deadly.

"These are the same guys that we grew up with each other from high school," Frazier said. "These were the same people from he same neighborhood that we was friends, but we divided by a color."

Frazier is a 30-year veteran of the Six Deuce Brim Bloods. His manager, who works directly across from him, is a Crip. it's an unlikely pairing, but both understood once the colors were put down the true differences are irrelevant.

"Now I'm grown, I have children, it's more to life than just a gang, the color," said Mack Bryson, manager. "It's more to life than that."

An understanding Bryson and Frazier are trying to teach their clients, most are current gang bangers. The lesson is simple, when you're a child you think as a child, but as a young man, it's time to not only think like a man, but be one.

"You can't be that mad at him that you want to kill him," Frazier said. "If you're that mad at him, so once we went to talking about it, they figured out their problem, they hugged. We took pictures."

Frazier and Bryson say the only way to relate is by living the same life. They say it's also the only way for clients to realize without the color, your guard is down, that's where one can find common ground.

"It's a better way, it's an easier way, than killing each other," Bryson said. "You can work together and we're showing, you can work together side by side with no problem."

"We get along so well," added Frazier, who agrees. "The only way you can tell we're different is because he's a Crip, he likes blue and I'm an ex-Blood. So, of course I like to wear red, but other than that you would think we we're family members."

Frazier said he plans to continue working with clients from various gangs. He hopes for each one he affects, it's another opportunity to give someone a chance at life, which being in the gang is often cut short.

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