South Bend barber helps young burn victim with transformative makeover

NOW: South Bend barber helps young burn victim with transformative makeover


SOUTH BEND, Ind. —- Marcel Griffin, Jr., 9, saw a face in a video, made in May, he did not recognize — his own. 

“Looks so much different,” he said. “You were right granny.”

Griffin almost speechless as he tried to find the words to how how much he loved his first ever hair cut and hairstyle. In the video, which has been like more than 1,000 times on Facebook, he agreed with he stares wide-eyed at the work Kintae Lark, owner of Inspiration School of Beauty, did.

“He’s looking back in disbelief,” Lark said. “Like this is me, this is my hair you.” 

Lark said as we re-watched the video on Monday that he was ecstatic and excited. He said because this haircut and hairstyle, in this case, made a difference. 

Griffin is a burn victim, according to his father, Marcel Griffin, Sr.

“It happened when he was one year old,” he said. “I haven’t seen him with hair in nine years, he gets bullied by his condition and it’s something he can’t control.”

Until Griffin met Lark in May. Lark was at Kennedy Park in South Bend giving out free haircuts. 

Lark said Griffin’s grandmother asked him if her grandson could get a haircut, but that Griffin, who was wearing a cap at the time, did not need to have his hair cut. Lark asked why he did not and Griffin took off his hat to show his scars.


“I’m like what can we do then,” Lark said. “It hits me, I can crown this kid.”

Lark has coined the phrase ‘Every King deserves a crown’ in the city. He has helped men with alopecia and other forms of hair loss regain their confidence by installing a hair unit. 

On May 18, Lark said he spent almost three hours installing a man unit on Griffin. That day Lark said was his first time installing a unit on a child. 

“All I could think about while I was servicing that young man was Riley Children’s Hospital,” Lark said. “All the children just like Marcel.”

Lark said he will be reaching out to the hospital to see if he can help burn victims in the same way he did for Griffin. 

“My goal for him is for him to begin to feel himself,” Lark said. 

The unit Griffin has usually costs more than $200, according to Lark. However, the barber did this for free and will be following up with the family to help them maintain the hairstyle. 

“I just want to say thank you for everything,” said Griffin, Jr. 

Since meeting Lark, Griffin has gone from a high top to a low fade. Lark said he is finding a style that Griffin is comfortable with, however, Griffin said it is just nice to have hair. 

“Instead of being bald all of the time,” he said. “Just having hair in the back.”

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