Cincinnati barber Vernon Jackson is a hit on TikTok for giving back to his community by providing free haircuts to disabled children.
He posted the heartfelt video to his account on Jan. 26 and amassed 3.4 million views on the video-sharing platform. Since then, Jackson has gained a large following on the app. In addition, his content went viral on social media, with singer and talk show host Jennifer Hudson wanting to know more about his story.
@upworthy Best haircut ever! 😍💈💇 @Author • Barber • Speaker ♬ original sound – Upworthy
Last week, Jackson stopped by The Jennifer Hudson Show and talked about the viral TikTok video and his program, the “Gifted Event,” through which he provides free haircuts for children with special needs, per the newspaper.
Jackson said he founded the program in August 2021 after hearing “horror stories” of disabled children being mistreated at local barbershops in the neighborhood. After learning about their plight, he created the initiative to help them feel better about themselves.
“I wanted it to be a name that was empowering for the child and for the families,” Jackson explained. “They’re gifted and live life a special way, so why not call it gifted?”
“Instead of me trying to send them someplace else, I thought I had the capacity,” he added.
The young boy’s mother, Julie Eubanks, was also a guest on the show and thanked Jackson for helping special needs children and the community.
“He [Ellison] wants to watch the video all the time,” she said. “There’s something about you that he was drawn to. I think you two are going to be friends for life.”
The program has collected over $76,000 in donations, and Jackson has given over 300 haircuts since his TikTok video went viral.