Photo Credits: Yakosu Umana
One barber believes he can build a community of â€˜innovativeâ€™ youth who can help each other and Islanders.
Luke Ignace, owner of the Breaking Barbershop, is working with several young adults to create a project he calls, the Urban Islander.
â€œAn urban Islander is an innovative person who is trying to solve issues in their community,â€ Ignace said.
â€œIf you are an urban islander, you exist where there is a complex mix of cultures, lifestyles and passions.â€
Last year, Ignace gained recognition for being the first black barber to own a barbing saloon in Charlottetown.
During Fall 2019, he organized a Hurricane Dorian relief for his home country, the Bahamas, by getting donors to fill a truck, with essential needs.
Ignace said the aim for his project is to give a platform to up-and-coming entrepreneurs, artists and lifestyle influencers, who arenâ€™t supported well enough, to showcase their work.
He said he plans to do this by using his barbershop to build a network with other businesses that could help these â€˜urban islanders.â€™
â€œLinking people with the right people in a network. We live in a global economy, we live in a place where we have the internet and can connect to unlimited people online.â€
Before opening his barbershop, Ignace worked as an events coordinator at the Startup Zone and learned about business incubation.
He believes his project might encourage more people to make their passion, a business.
â€œThis will help increase entrepreneurialism amongst youth in PEI.â€
So far, heâ€™s partnered with the Receiver coffee shop to use their shop as a space to host events and give presentations on urban culture.
Aside from his project creating a platform for these â€˜urban Islanders,â€™ Ignace wants it to create a bigger presence of urban culture in PEI.
Ignace said urban culture is a mix of cultures from different cities across the world.
â€œIn PEI there is a Victorian culture, in the Bahamas, there is a Caribbean culture.â€
Bassey Amba, a fourth-year engineering major at UPEI, is working with Luke Ignace on the Urban Islander project.
Amba is a fitness influencer and former model. He partook in a photoshoot organized by Ignace.
The aim of the photoshoot was to show diversity, Amba said.
â€œ[It was] A collective of those different cultures with their passions.â€
Amba said he is impressed by Ignaceâ€™s passion to create an inclusive community of different passions and cultures.
â€œHe recognizes in the island that there are a lot of treasures,â€ Amba said.
â€œHe wants a mix of different passions.â€
As for Ignace, he said the idea of the project came about in seeing a necessity for himself and others.
â€œIt came about me solving a need for myself and also being able to identify that same need in others,â€ he said.
For him, it shows resiliency in pursuing his passion, and dependability, he said.
â€œI donâ€™t want to remain in a defeated state or be in a place of helplessness.â€
Ignace is planning to host an event in late November, stay tuned for that.