When Jasmine Mitchell ’93 moved into Lupton Hall as a Baylor freshman, there was one item packed away among school supplies and uniforms, bedding for his dorm room, and family photographs that would be very important to him for the rest of his life: hair clippers.
“My dad cut my hair when I was a kid,” Jasmine remembers, “and when I was in the seventh or eighth grade, he said he was done. From that point on, I always cut my own hair.”
Having clippers and the skill and confidence to use them made Jasmine a popular dorm resident. He recalls cutting the hair of fellow boarders Frahn D’Anjou ’93, Ben Smith ’94, Kresimir Marusic ’93, and Charles Mayfield ’92, as well as a day student or two, such as Rasheed Hamilton ’93, and even some of the dorm faculty, most notably the late Phil Hibdon, dorm parent and athletic equipment manager.
After leaving Baylor, Jasmine spent one year at the University of Miami, dropped out, enrolled in cosmetology school, and took a full-time night job at UPS in his hometown of Manassas, Va. Today, at 40, he is the entrepreneurial vision behind JazCutz, three barbershops in the Manassas area, and continues to do a lot of barbering himself. He has also recently earned a degree in business administration and is pursuing options to get a master’s degree in education.
Immersing himself in his community, Jasmine has his JazCutz shops serve as the home base for Real Shop Talk, Inc., a non-profit outreach program based on Christian principles, designed to instill confidence and character in kids as young as seven in the Manassas area. He also recently took over the position of a retiring cosmetology teacher at a local high school and conceived a new barbering class that includes many of the same young people from his Real Shop Talk community.
“This is a two-year program,” explains Jasmine, “and the graduates are ready to take the license exam without further training. Along with manners, courtesy, and respect, I try to teach them how I got from employee to business owner and the difference between a job and a career. A career is that thing you love, the thing you invest yourself in learning to do, and that thing that becomes your life,” he says and points to three words written on his chalkboard: passion, education, experience. “Love it, learn it, live it.”
Jasmine remembers noticing that pattern during his years at Baylor. “I’m grabbing French toast in Guerry Hall on Sunday morning, and I’m in the line with Coach [Perry] Key,” he relates, “and we talk about isotopes. Ms. [Mercedes] Akers basically brought me into her family and made it clear that B’s and C’s were not acceptable. Why, when I came for my 20th reunion, did I feel the need to see Coach [Austin] Clark, who taught me about handling disappointment and not quitting, to let him know what I’m doing, to hear him say he’s proud of me? These people loved what they were doing. They were brilliant, educated people, but they were also everyday people. And they lived it out along with me.”