Ice Cube returned to Philly this week, with fellow Barbershop: The Next Cut cast member Deon Cole, after an extremely successful year with the critically acclaimed film “Straight Outta Compton,” for which he served as producer.
“Barbershop: The Next Cut” is the third comedy in the hit “Barbershop” series, and finds the cast of characters dealing with the increasing violence in their south side Chicago community, and their attempts to make an impact for the better. Along with the timely and socially relevant subject matter, the film displays the return of several original cast members including Philly native Eve, Anthony Anderson, and Cedric the Entertainer – along with new additions Nicki Minaj, Regina Hall and Common.
When asked how the older cast mates welcomed the newer members to the set, Ice Cube shared,
“We had a big dinner and Cedric the Entertainer stood up and said, ‘Look this is our third movie and I want to say to the new cast don’t mess this up! Bring your A-game, and you’ll be alright.’ And everybody did, and we (carried) that camaraderie on-set and off-set. We became like a (real) shop.”
The film’s screenplay was written by “Black*ish” creator/writer Kenya Barris, with whom actor/writer/comedian Deon Cole has also worked. Cole discussed what he felt was the major appeal of Barris’ storytelling and stated,
“His writing is wholesome, but real and necessary. And he brings that realness to any project he does without beating people over the head – but where they feel, ‘Yeah this actually happens.’ As soon as I knew he was writing (the script), and with Cube and (director) Malcolm D. Lee attached, I prayed every night to be a part of it.
After a full morning of interviews on Thursday, and an early afternoon stop at a free mobile barbershop in Center City, the duo made an appearance at the School District of Philadelphia to donate a check to the “Right Books” campaign, which assists elementary school children from grades kindergarten through third obtain resources to read at the appropriate level by fourth grade. School district superintendent William Hite was there to accept the $5,000 donation on behalf of the campaign.
The movie “Barbershop: The Next Cut” opens in theaters nationwide on April 15 – one week after Ice Cube and his former N.W. A. group mates, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and the late Eazy E. (posthumously) are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 8.