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Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander was driving down Florida Avenue NE last night when her sensibilities were offended. The culprit: a red sign promising a “SEX BARBERSHOP.”
The promise of a “sex barbershop” excited some children riding with Alexander, but it’s just the result of a broken sign intended to tout a unisex barbershop.
“You know how kids read everything,” Alexander says. “That’s when it got my attention.”
Now Alexander wants the District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to step in and force the business, Mr. Easley’s Unisex Barbershop, to fix the “UNI” portion of the sign. In a series of tweets, Alexander complained about the sign to the agency and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, whose ward includes the barbershop at 1361 Florida Ave. NE.
Alexander compares the red sign promising sex, which she says made her suspect the business was a massage parlor, to the atmospherics of the 2001 Baz Luhrmann drama Moulin Rouge!
“That’s sending the wrong message, and especially at night,” Alexander says. “I mean, what barbershop is open at night with red neon lights up there?”
When LL reached Warren Easley, the owner of Mr. Easley’s Unisex Barbershop, he was initially confused.
“Is she a councilperson?” Easley asks. “I thought she lost.” (Alexander lost her June re-election bid to Vince Gray, but still has three months left in office).
Easley insists his business is not a “sex barbershop at all.” Instead, he blames the sign mishap on a 2011 fire. When Easley paid a contractor to fix the sign three years ago, he says, the contractor instead made off with the money.
“Oh come on!” Alexander tells LL. “Now do you believe that story? How could “SEX” be fixed but the “UNI” not be fixed?”
While Easley is still trying to fix the sign, he says businesses nearby on H Street NE have asked him to keep it “SEX BARBERSHOP” because it doubles as a useful landmark. In the meantime, he’s confused about why Alexander is fixated on a sign outside her own ward when Ward 7 has its own problems.
“I create jobs,” Easley says. “What jobs has she created?”
Alexander isn’t backing down, insisting that the sign is within her purview as a councilmember.
“Oh my God, and his name is “Easley” too,” Alexander says, apparently making a pun on “easily.” “This just gets better.”
Alexander has her opinions about how Easley should run his business, so Easley has his own opinions about how Alexander should do her own job. He even has advice for the lame duck councilmember.
“Regroup, get yourself together, and come back,” Easley says. “But don’t try to get political kudos by lashing out at me. I didn’t do anything.”