Stefon Hullum-Mhoon: Creating My Own Lane
Tell us who you are and what you do!
My name is Stefon Hullum-Mhoon and I currently reside in Conway, Arkansas. This is my third year as a professional barber and since this profession became my foundation, I’ve been able to maximize my creating ability in a couple new areas such as my non-profit Faded Inc., my clothing line NuMhoon Clothing, and helping others develop solid marketing ideas for their business with Prestige Cuts.
I’m an entrepreneur with an creative drive to redefine what it is to be black in America, let alone a black male! Solid in faith and my spirituality I know through one of my many talents whether it’s barbering, music, art, acting or just motivating others, I can reach my full potential in showing and not just telling my brothers and sisters what can be done when you’re fully in tune with self.
I got into barbering really because of art and fashion. At first, it was just a hustle for me to keep money in my pocket while I pursued a career in basketball. Shortly after my third year of college I had my second little girl and basketball wasn’t paying me. I tried the 9 to 5 thing, but me working for another company to capitalize off of my talent just wasn’t me. It pushed me to go get my license and when I did I started to gain a lot of support from friends and family. As I began to take barbering a little more serious I noticed the peace it brought me similar to when I would go hoop after a stressful day. It allowed me a chance to create looks that people could be confident about when they wanted to make a good impression or just go out. The more I did it the better I became and now it just feels like people enjoy my form of art. I appreciate how it allows me to connect with all kinds of people from white, black, rich or poor.
I have two daughters ages four and three and between them and their mother, I’ve been pushed to a greater purpose! Through my fashion line, barber profession, and non-profit I plan to inspire as much of the youth as possible. Society has become a lot harder for people of color and I plan to make a change one day at a time starting with myself. By enhancing my brain with knowledge of self awareness, self love and peace. Not only that, but studying the conditions we are in now and how we got here will allow me to properly educate myself. By doing so, I can apply it to my life and let people view me as an example of how it’s suppose to be done in hopes to spark a light in our culture so that we can save the next generation from this corrupt society. This will happen one cut at a time with every individual that sits in my chair!
What is the inspiration for your work?
“My job is to educate on life, inspire the youth and create better opportunities for black leaders, entrepreneurs, husbands, and fathers without having to conform to a society that does not accept us for who we are.”
The inspiration for my work comes from the manipulative ways of this world and how it’s held us mentally hostage forever. From the false ideas of success, education, jobs, history and religion on down to the condition my family has to be raised in due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of what’s going on in this society is what drives me to do what I do.
Am I perfect? Not by far, but that alone won’t stop me from striving to be. Being a barber is a VERY important role in the black community being that through our most difficult times in America, barbershops and salons were the only safe place for men and women to go and discuss plans for development of the community without being looked at as a terroristic threat. It was and still is the pillar of the community!
I feel honored to be a barber and entitled to leave my mark here like Martin Luther King & brother Malcolm X. Me being a leader and seeing people inspired by it drives me to do more. My father was well aware of the obstacles I would face as black male in America and often reminded me of what he went through as a kid to instill the seriousness of the role I would take on. His lack of education and experiences with corporate America limited him to the things he could teach me about the real world so he was normally frustrated thinking I may not understand.
In Blytheville, Arkansas your resources for getting out would rely on you being an exceptional athlete, music artist or academic scholar in which in my area is slim to none unless you know somebody that knows somebody. I know that will stop with our generation, we will beat all odds and create resources for black men and women, teens and kids to be all they can be without limitations or financial limits from institutions that aren’t designed for life’s development. My job is to educate on life, inspire the youth and create better opportunities for black leaders, entrepreneurs, husbands, and fathers without having to conform to a society that does not accept us for who we are. My profession will inspire truth and mental freedom from this capitalistic world.
What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?
“You can gain ideas and motivation from others, but you’re the only person who can create your own lane.”
To prevent artists from making the same mistakes I did, I’d definitely tell them to seek a relationship with God first before engaging into anything. This world is tricky and you’ll lose yourself if you’re not sure of who you are. Find yourself and accept your truth, flaws and all because it is only you who can express who you really are. Nobody can show you or tell you, it’s only their opinions, not your truth. You can gain ideas and motivation from others, but you’re the only person who can create your own lane. You are different!
Develop your OWN talents and KNOW your worth, find your peace, and begin to channel and manifest your life. Everything will not go smoothly, yet keep strong faith and focus on yourself, then push 110% for what you are trying to do in life. Remember to accept failures as practice and understand your timing is divine! There are no such things as “lost”, only practice and lessons learned. Plan out your life like a timeline in history class and start to go at it one day at a time.
What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner?
“Learn to deal with people even if they are difficult at first and trust that if they become too much of a hassle that God will lead you out of that situation.”
Obstacles I’ve faced as a black business owner would be first understanding where I wanted to go with my vision and how to develop it. I started out as an entrepreneur young and ambitious at 22 with a vision that could inspire the world.
My first obstacle was lack of direction and trust. I figured if I could get with a team willing to work I could make up for that with experience from my elders. So, I jumped into a barbershop and was the youngest there. I poured all of my time and ideas into the barbershop. After three years had gone by, I had invested my mind and time into it and nothing was changing for the shop and everyone was looking for me to come up with more solutions. I was growing fast, but no one else seemed to like the pace at which they were growing. This caused jealousy and envy being that I was the youngest, but the most important key to the establishment. Since I was the only one applying time and ideas it began to drain me of my passion and forced me to go out to create what I wanted on my own. If I were more in tune with myself I would have realized how to control and lead these men to where they wanted to go instead of becoming frustrated and leaving them behind, but this was all apart of my leadership growth.
Shortly after, I began to face obstacles that made it more difficult for me and that I didn’t have to go through if I had been more at peace with myself during the time I had been at the shop. I could have understood more although now I’m forced to do a lot on my own. All this to say learn to deal with people even if they are difficult at first and trust that if they become too much of a hassle that God will lead you out of that situation.
I also would like for people to see that if you are not aware of yourself and certain about where you want to go with your vision, it will be used by others for their own benefit. Know the people around you when you’re working with them and make sure all of you are on the same level or greater so that everyone can give and receive growth.
Another obstacle I ran into with being a young business owner was learning to sacrifice time of my own to complete my work. I often spent a lot of time away from home causing me to have bad separation anxiety from my daughters and their mother. The lack of understanding caused problems at home because all I wanted to do was work, work, work. I didn’t establish a balance for both work and family so it had gotten to the point where I had to choose, and so I did. I chose my family which caused me to fall back tremendously as a barber. My time was limited which drove off a lot of clients. After effective communication with my daughters’ mother, we began to work out the problems but not before I already had to start over. So with this I would say make sure you find a balance between family and work.
My last obstacle was understanding that there is room for growth from anyone or anything. Your mind has to be open for improvement and you have to be willing to listen. I closed myself off from others, thinking I knew enough about what I wanted done. Although it’s difficult to find genuine people to work with I needed to remember there is always strength in numbers. But that came with maturity and experience after I rushed into my clothing line and had to stop after releasing two items. It was definitely a bought lesson because instead of seeking help I spent a lot of money doing things on my own and not getting anywhere. I wasted three years pushing these ideas not getting anywhere when I could have easily listened to people who had