Vote 2024

Buss stop: Presidential candidate makes surprise visit to Dover barbershop

By Mike Finney
Posted 5/22/24

DOVER — It’s not every day a U.S. presidential candidate’s team calls a small business to ask to visit.

But that’s exactly what happened when representatives of Johnny …

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Vote 2024

Buss stop: Presidential candidate makes surprise visit to Dover barbershop


DOVER — It’s not every day a U.S. presidential candidate’s team calls a small business to ask to visit.

But that’s exactly what happened when representatives of Johnny Buss — who announced his campaign as an independent contender April 18 — contacted Janaid Kareem a week-and-a-half ago.

Mr. Buss’ aides said he would be making appearances in Washington, D.C., on May 15 and in Baltimore the following day, and wanted to schedule an impromptu appearance in Dover on May 17.

Mr. Kareem, owner of Janaid’s Salon for Men at 211 W. Loockerman St. in the capital city, told them he had the perfect spot to spread Mr. Buss’ message: his barbershop.

“They asked me if (anyplace in the city) had the space, and I told her it would be a tough pull to get a big space in a couple of days, so I asked how many people did she expect, and she said they were doing small meet-and-greets with 20-25 people. So, I told her we have the perfect place — right here,” Mr. Kareem said.

“I told her I’ll guarantee you that between 4:30-6:30 p.m., there will be at least 24 people in (Janaid’s). She asked how could I guarantee that, and I said it’s because I’ve got 12 stylists, and each one of them will have one person in their chair, so that’s 24.”

With a smile on his face, he added, “Then, we invited a couple of other people, and actually about 50 people showed up, so it was a pretty good time.”

Mr. Buss is more famously known as the co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, among the most recognizable franchises in the NBA.

In his visit to Dover, he revealed elements of his platform, which prioritizes education, equity and environmental conservation, among other pivotal issues.

Ian Skinner, a Kent County resident, attended the event and said it is refreshing to see a fresh face in the presidential race.

“At first, I thought it was interesting because I’ve never seen any presidential candidate come to Dover. Maybe Wilmington. So, it intrigued me, and he seemed like a fair guy and like he had a heart for it, so we’ll see where he can go,” Mr. Skinner said.

“It’s nice to put some fresh blood in the game, for sure. It’s always nice to have somebody that’s not been (a politician) their whole life and doesn’t really need to run, but instead, he’s trying to make a change.”

Mr. Kareem laughed when asked if he thought twice about hosting a presidential candidate at his establishment. He also admitted that he hadn’t been aware of Mr. Buss, other than as an owner of the Lakers.

“He’s doing the political thing, but I told him (that), to have one of the owners of one of the three top franchises in the world, the Cowboys, the Yankees and the Lakers  ... in my building, and ask for a haircut, ... that was enough for me,” Mr. Kareem said.

“He seemed to be a really down-to-earth guy, and he seemed to be a very nonpolitical guy, so he’s not a ‘politician-politician,’ but he’s a very good guy.”

With a proven record of leadership in top-tier sports organizations, Mr. Buss aims to bring an inspiring perspective to the political landscape. His mission revolves around promoting peace, fairness, justice, prosperity and equal opportunities for all.

“Education lies at the very foundation of my campaign,” he said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “Ensuring every child has access to quality education regardless of their background is not only a priority but an imperative. We must equip our youth with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a rapidly changing world.”

His platform also underscores empathy and integrity. He is committed to fostering compassion in policymaking, while upholding the highest ethical standards.

And the fact that he called a small, minority-owned business like Janaid’s Salon to host a campaign event left an impression on Mr. Kareem.

“He wanted to go around the country and find out some of the concerns the American people have, and I think he’s going to make another announcement or another direction in June or July,” he said. “He’s been touring the country in small settings and asking the general public what their concerns are.

“And, in a little footnote, they said ... that Delaware was the best stop so far in their tour.”

One other surprise: Mr. Kareem was able to cut the candidate’s hair.

While the barber has served some famous football and basketball players — such as local standouts Duron Harmon (Caesar Rodney, New England Patriots) and Jordan Magee (Dover, drafted by the Washington Commanders) — he’s never done so for someone running for president.

“That’s probably the most famous guy I’ve given a haircut to,” he said, with a laugh. “I’ve never cut the hair of a $700 million man before.”

Staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at 302-741-8230 or
Follow @MikeFinneyDSN on X.

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