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In 1973, Willie Williams moved to Arlington looking for a job after serving in the Vietnam war. Willie, in his early 20s, had become adept at cutting hair in the service and figured he’d do that awhile. More than 40 years later, he’s still styling as owner of The Look Hair Salon. Willie’s first job was at Heflin’s Barber Shop on West Park Row Drive in the same strip mall as Music World, where I worked Saturdays cleaning floors and bathrooms in exchange for guitar lessons. I walked in to Heflin’s to get my hair cut one day — at my father’s insistence, no doubt — and saw Willie for the first time. Few African-Americans lived in Arlington in 1973. The only places my friends and I ever went were school, church, and to visit relatives on holidays, and there weren’t any black people there either. Willie was the first black man that my friends and I became close to, and he turned out to be a great mentor and friend. He was quiet, soft spoken, friendly, and about as cool as they come. Still is. We all loved the guy. Within a few years, Willie opened his own shop, The Wild Hair, and we followed him there. Some of my friends still get their hair cut by Willie. I left Arlington after high school and hadn’t seen Willie until we shot this show. Seeing him brought back a lot of good childhood memories and feelings. I recalled “Willie and the Hand Jive” from an old Eric Clapton record and asked Willie if he knew the song. He remembered an older version by Johnny Otis. We did the Otis version since it is faster and peppier than Clapton’s. It was great seeing you again, Willie! You made a big impression on a lot of young kids in the 1970s, and I’m sure you’ve continued doing so with many generations since. You’re the man. — Jeff Prince

4 COMMENTS

  1. I to love Willie!! He’s the only one I’ve let touch my hair since 2005! He’s such a pleasure to be around and is so Cj a great person!! Willie your the best!!

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