Celebrity barbershop owner shot to death in Springfield Gardens

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Hollis barbershop owner Zanu Simpson, 32, who catered to rappers and professional athletes, was shot to death early Tuesday morning outside a bar in Springfield Gardens, according to the NYPD. He had complained on social media that rivals were jealous of him.

Police responding to a 911 call found the Jamaica resident unresponsive and unconscious at South Conduit and Lansing avenues with bullet wounds to the head. Authorities said there was a 9 millimeter gun at the scene.

EMS transported Simpson to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police determined that he was engaged in a struggle prior to being shot inside his BMW x5 and robbery was the motive. But the NYPD said it had no leads and no description of the shooter.

Facebook posts and Instagram messages from Simpson said he had rivals who were jealous of his popularity and the wealth that came with it.

“Back when I was broke [people were] cool [with] me,” Simpson wrote in his last Facebook post Monday. “My Haters [want] to see me fall, but I would never sell my soul.”

His last Instagram post read that “[people] were taking shots” at him and featured two gun emojis and the hashtag #UntiliGet­FilthyRich.

According to his social media pages, Simpson was the owner and a master barber of “Strictly Skillz Barbershop,” located at 190-11 Hollis Ave.

The Hollis barbershop he owned has a five-star rating from his customers, and his clients went to both social media pages to express their condolences to his family, including his brother Samuel Simpson, who co-owned the barbershop.

Simpson celebrated his 32nd birthday July 8, according to his Facebook timeline.

“I’m just blessed to see another year in life and be able to celebrate this day with the people that have a lot of love for me,” Simpson said.

Hollis hip-hop muralist Jocelyn Goode described the flashy tattooed barber as “laid back,” and appreciated how he supported her not-profit art for kids, Culture Cocoa ArtHouse Inc., by letting her put up fliers in his barbershop.

“We would even have debates about media and he would say that I should get on social media to reach more people,” Goode said.

She described the celebrity barber who styled rappers Meek Mills, Bow Wow and Royal Ivey, a former NBA player now on the coaching staff of the Oklahoma City Thunder, as “a role model to the kids,” because he worked hard and worked long hours.

Ivey is friendly with the Simpson brothers and went to their barbershop for over 13 years. He was devastated to hear the news.

“He was a very humble young man, positive and always had a smile,” Ivey said in a phone interview. “He looked up to his big brother, and the two were so inseparable that people thought they were twins.”

He described the Simpson brothers as big basketball fans.

“They would both come out to support my games,” Ivey said.

Ivey was proud to watch someone he saw grow up before his eyes become a great example to the community.

“He would give out free haircuts to the kids sometimes and throw barbecues,” Ivey said.

Kids in the neighborhood were impressed that the brothers used some of their profits to self-finance a reality show in 2013 called “Strickly Skillz: The Life Reality Show,” according to Goode.

Goode thought that Simpson was just as essential to the character of Hollis as rappers LL Cool J and Run DMC, natives of the area who put the place on the map.

“That was a part of our legacy,” Goode said. “You can’t make him come back.”

There were no arrests as of press time, and the investigation is ongoing.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

Updated 7:45 am, July 28, 2017
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Clean up Jamaica from Jamaica says:
Another damn shooting and killing in this community AGAIN. What is wrong with the Jamaica community.

Zanu Simpson, 32, was a well known barber at Strickly Skillz Barbershop in Hollis and was shot execution style while sitting in his car on Tuesday morning at 12:15am after leaving a nearby bar.

Strickly Skills Barbershop was the sight of a 2am robbery on April 12, 2015, where two armed robbers entered the shop and robbed ( a 33-year-old, a 29-year-old and a 23-year-old and took from there pockets $1,600, three cellphones, gold chains and a driver’s license. That is a lot of cash to have in your pockets, I mean who actually walks around with that kind of cash.

Ironically back in October of 2016, another popular barber/owner, Brian Berry, was shot and killed at a shop with the exact same name, Strickly Skillz Barbershop in Pine Hills, Florida (

A business owner, Trinice Brown nearby the Florida barbershop said after the shooting and killing:

“We’ve got to stop. We’ve got to stop this violence. This is nonsense,” Brown said. “What’s the anger about? What’s the beef about? Why are people just taking peoples lives? I don’t know why someone would take his life to take him like that. It’s horrible.”

Sounds like the same old story in communities of color.

Something does not add up right to this whole story, but as time goes on we may or may not find more information on this. But as is the case with Jamaica, things are not always as they seem to be.

In the meantime, another young man in the community is dead. ANOTHER ONE this year and it is only July and the count of violent deaths is already past 10.

As I said something is very wrong with this community and local leaders and elected officials as usual go on as business as usual, waiting for the next —— photo op, while closing their eyes to the many problems and sweeping things under the rug like the kidnapping and pimping out of a 15 year old black girl for four months in Rev. Floyd Flake’s Greater Allen Senior Residence (
July 25, 2017, 5:59 pm
yosef confetti from cyberspace says:
Hey joseph

Im sure somewhere in the 52 states some got shot and they look like you or went to private school and its not only in the hood
go comment on that
July 25, 2017, 6:19 pm
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
Yosef confetti from cyberspace: The story is about JAMAICA QUEENS, but communities like Jamaica see much higher shootings and killings than other places, A FACT something you seem to want to ignore. Of course someone got shot in the other 52 states and someone graduated high school as well, but what is your point. BUT let's take Jamaica Queens and Forest Hills Queens.

SHOT and KILLED in Jamaica Queens this year: 10
SHOT AND KILLED in Forest Hills Queens this year: ZERO

So I just commented on your irrelevant comment. FACE REALITY, TRUTH and FACTS as opposed to some convoluted logic of yours that makes no sense, even though I know what you are trying to do, but the statistics are not in your favor. Why do so many not want to face facts and truth and attempt to spin something.

Bottom line, shootings and killings are much more higher in places like Jamaica Queens than a Forest Hills Queens, just like there are more killings on the South Side of Chicago compared to the Gold Coast or Hyde Park of Chicago.
July 26, 2017, 5:18 am
I have no name from Mill Basin says:
"But he was such a nice guy" is what you are gonna hear people say all the time. We don't know what happened behind closed doors. For all we know it can be a drug deal gone wrong...
July 26, 2017, 10:03 am
Ruthie from South East Queens says:
Hi Joe,
South East Queens doesn't need a racist ignorant bastard like yourself trying to tear them down. Racist people like you love to ignore the reality of the country we live in. White people kill in their communities just like everyone else and guess what the media and people like yourself ignore that. You don't care about the community members so please keep your comments to yourself. If you want help the community how about you report how Albany, City Hall and Washington aren't giving South East Queens their fair amount of resources
July 26, 2017, 1:02 pm
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
Ruthie from South East Queens. STATISTICS DON'T LIE and since you are in DENIAL about this, no use having an intelligent conversation with you. AND there is nothing racist about my comments, they are facts they are going on in the Jamaica community and others like it, so give me break. The only thing that is on point is your comment about resources, which that is true and fact. Do you really know how many young black men and women were killed in Jamaica this year alone. Compare that with Forest Hills, which had none.

But you are not interested in facts, reality and truth.
July 26, 2017, 1:11 pm
Ruthie from South East Queens says:
Joe, You're not interested in facts, reality or the the truth.
You aren't a member of that community so why are you reporting on these issues that you don't know about? Do you really know the hard working community members in Jamaica? Do you really know how many people are killed in Forest Hills? The fact that you are comparing Jamaica to Forest Hills is very racist. It's obvious what you're trying to do comparing these two different neighbors. These "communities of color" didn't happen by accident. If you aren't trying to offer solutions do us all a favor and keep your comments to yourself! Thanks!
July 26, 2017, 2:15 pm
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
How is comparing Jamaica with neighboring Forest Hills racist. You are the one that brought up in your previous comment "White people kill in their communities just like everyone else and guess what the media and people like yourself ignore that" and yes white people kill as well, but communities like Jamaica have much more shootings and killings as opposed to communities like Forest Hills, that is just fact, so I brought up Forest Hills, which had NO shootings or killing this year compared to Jamaica which had 10 already this year. Forest Hills has not had a murder in over three years, so feel free to actually look up police statistics on neighborhoods. Nothing racist here, just going on what you had said in the previous comment.

I am choosing to sticking to facts and statistics within two neighboring communities. AND I live in this Jamaica community and see what goes on both from the people and from the lack of services that you mentioned, so I am entitled to comment on it. AND I probably know way more about this community than you think, plus the history of Jamaica more than most. Do you even know how Jamaica got the name or who Roy Wilkins is or Rufus King or Major Mark, all whom parks in this community were named after.

What you should concern yourself with is that another young man in this community was killed in this community due to way too many shootings and violence here, I mean we just had a mother of two and and a young man from the community killed during a 4th of July party due to violence. But you are digressing from the facts or don't want to face them. AND this is regardless of the many hard working people in the community, many whom I know. This is about a community that has the most violence and shootings than any other community in Queens.
July 26, 2017, 2:32 pm
Ruthie from South East Queens says:
It's obvious you don't want to deal with the real issues concerning "communities of color" and how and why these communities were created or what happens to communities because of lack of resources.

What you should concern yourself with is advocating for your community because other then that what's your point?
July 26, 2017, 3:37 pm
J. Johnson from Laurelton says:
As someone who has lived in the Jamaica area for 60 years as did my parents I have seen Jamaica during the good times in the 50's and part of the 60's to the 80's crack epidemic to today and I have to say that too much of Jamaica is a a complete mess where too many of the people today have no pride in their community. Garbage and litter are all over the streets and sidewalks, people do not even have the decency to throw their litter in the garbage cans, I am constantly sweeping up garbage that people throw right in front of my house. The crime in this community though it is nowhere what is was in the 80's is still bad compared to other places. Too many of our young brothers and some of our sisters are being gunned down by other brothers over nonsense. So to you Ruthie, that Clean Up guy has a point, you just don't see this continuous killing of young people in other communities like you do in Jamaica and other black communities and our supposed "leaders" & elected officials do absolutely nothing about this, but then so many of these local politicians do not do too much of anything. The real problem is the mentality in this community and I am afraid Ruthie that you are missing the point of what is wrong in the community and it begins with the people. A community is only as good as the people in it, that is what makes community and I am sad to see that Jamaica making steps backwards as opposed to forward. You may not like what the Clean up guy has to say, but he is not telling any lies though and he is bringing up "real issues" about our community.
July 26, 2017, 4:59 pm
Food for Thought from St. Albans says:
This is all in the Greater Jamaica Area this past year, except for the D'aja Robinson shooting. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg with shootings, killings and rapes in Jamaica, I am sure there is more, but this is all what I found and I remember all of this when it happened. Ruth from SE Queens, you might want to get your facts straight, because this is a lot of crap going down in Jamaica. You seem to be the one who does not want to deal with "real issues in communities of color". And you might want to take a look at Brownsville and East New York in Brooklyn and Wyndanch on Long Island.
July 26, 2017, 5:14 pm
Z-J from Brooklyn says:
So Ruthie from South East Queens:

So what does lack of resources have to do with high rates of black on black killings like what happened to the man in this article or what does do you even know why these comunities were created have to do with all these killing in black communities or what does that even mean, created. What does any of that have to do with this man getting shot and killed by another person. You totally lost me on that, it does not even make any sense. A man was killed and you are babblying about I don't know what.
July 26, 2017, 5:41 pm
yoseff confetti from cyberspace says:
White people are moving back to Jamaica. All many new buildings going up around Archer and the LIRR all pimps and drug dealers going to get rich in the next year. Stay tuned to Joseph Moretti for updates.
July 26, 2017, 6:28 pm
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
And Yoseff, the clueless far left liberal has no idea as usual what he/she is talking about. White people are not moving back to Jamaica, don't know where you got that one from. And for your information, Jamaica was never white, back in the day it was a mixture of white, Jewish, Italian and African-American. Learn your history.

As far as Ruthie from South East Queens, I have made my point very clearly but people like you refuse to see the issue right at hand, digress the subject and use the "racist BS" and convoluted logic, but you are not alone, too many in Jamaica do that as well because the truth hurts and people don't like to have the truth thrown at them.
July 26, 2017, 7:07 pm
John S from Whitestone says:
Joe - Thank you for making these points. Comparing Forest Hills to Jamaica is not racist. I am sick over everything being racist, or sexist, or whatever. Keep up the good work Joe. I believe like you people need to take their own initiative and clean up and govern their communities. All politics is local and the most dangerous weapon to a politician is a video camera and youtube.
July 26, 2017, 7:22 pm
Joe Moretti from Jamaica says:
AND John S, you are right on the money that people not only need to take initiative, but they are accountable for their own actions and they are in charge of their own destiny, not others and they choose the paths they are on. Communities are only as good as the people in them and communities need to be governed by the people and you cannot always count on your government or your lackey elected officials, like Jamaica to take care of the community. It is a group effort and people must have pride and respect for their communities, which seems to be sorely lackey in Jamaica. For all the talk that Ruthie does, what exactly has she and others done to make the Jamaica community better, make it cleaner, make it respectable. Seems like she and others want to toss out any accountability or be held responsible for their behaviors and actions. AND if they government does not give you resources you feel the community needs, the least one can do is throw their litter and trash in a receptacle and not on the sidewalk or street or someone's yard or in front of their building. Ever walk around all of Jamaica, most of it has so much garbage and litter ALL OVER that is it DISGUSTING and whose fault is that, THE PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY. DOES Forest Hills have garbage and litter all over every inch of their community, NO, because most people there have pride in their community and respect for it and don't treat it like a damn garbage dump like many in Jamaica do.

I am also tired of people not taking any kind of responsibility and placing blame everywhere else except on their own selves.

I had illegal truck driving on my residential street 24/7, but I fought and fought and fought on that issue till finally the city put signs up and the police started enforcing the law. It took well over a year, lots of photos and videos, lots of writing to the city and officials, but I persevered and did not give up until it was corrected. If I waited for my lazy elected officials to do something, nothing would have been done.

So Ruthie and Yoseff, tell us all what you have done for your community besides use the "racist bulls**t line to resolve yourself from issues and facing reality and the truth.

I was going to post all the shootings, killings, rapes and other nonsense in the Jamaica community just from this year alone, but it looks like someone else beat me to that punch. TRUTH, a hard pill for some to swallow.
July 26, 2017, 7:51 pm
yoseff confetti from cyberspace says:
I have done nothing for my community but paid taxes. I hope in the future I can do something to have a small positive impact. For now all I can do is sit here and tell Joseph those three buildings going up around the Jamaica LIRR is not being build for the community in the hood. White Ppl coming back just like they took Williamsburg Bed Stuy Bushwick Harlem Far Rockaway they cant afford to live in Manhattan because they sold out to China (Waldof Astoria etc) and the jihad (Plaza Hotel etc) thats all.
July 26, 2017, 8:57 pm
yoseff confetti from cyberspace says:
Thats why he is CLEANINGUPJAMAICA you guys pay attention.
July 26, 2017, 8:58 pm
Cluessless Queens Idiots from Queens says:
It seems that people like yoseff and ruthie are what is wrong with communities. Misinformed, not dealing in reality and dim bulbs. By the way, yoseff, do you even know who the people were that originally were in those ares you mentioned, no, of course not, but as long as you tell untruths enough times, i guess in your mind they become truths.
July 27, 2017, 6:34 am
yshaggy from jamaica says:
Another nice guy, everybody loved him, gave free haircuts to the children, barber shop open until 2, 3, 4 in the morning, I'm only guessing but somebody out their didn't see him in that same light, several to the head, I wonder if the shooter told him that he had nothing but love for him before running off.
July 27, 2017, 6:34 am
Jamaica Ghetto from Jamaica says:
FACT: Jamaica is just plain CRAP GHETTO, the worst neighborhood in all of Queens and has been for decades.

The people living here are just used to that.
July 27, 2017, 9:30 am
Oh Boy from SE Queens says:
Ruthie, instead of telling others " If you want help the community how about you report how Albany, City Hall and Washington aren't giving South East Queens their fair amount of resources".

WHY don't you do that instead of telling others what they should do and bring that idiot yoseff with you, you both seem to do nothing and have plenty of time on your hands.
July 27, 2017, 10:18 am
yosef confetti from cyberspace says:
clueless you spelled it wrong but im the idiot. your school pass you because your parents gave a donation. learn how to write first then talk to me
July 27, 2017, 3:07 pm
Cluessless Queens Idiots from Queens says:

It is I'm, see that little thing between the i and m, it is called an apostrophe. Plus your 2nd sentence does not make sense literally. It probably should be your school "passed", to make pass past tense, forget the "ed", IDIOT.

I think you are the one that needs to learn to write correctly. Must have gone to Jamaica High School. Now come back with a real witty retort.

RETORT: say something in answer to a remark or accusation, typically in a sharp, angry, or wittily incisive manner. Just in case you thought retort, was some kind of dessert.
July 27, 2017, 4:25 pm
HEY HEY from Queensville says:
I thought this story was about a guy who was shot and killed, but too many comments, especially from that yosef, have nothing to do with this. While that ruthie seems to be based in unreality, at least, she was sticking to the topic. Yosef, don't you have a job or some responsibility to attend to or are you just another lost millennium in cyberspace.

Stick to the topic of the article.
July 27, 2017, 4:31 pm
HEY HEY from Queensville says:
PS yosef, I left you another error for you to find. If you do you win two nights at one of Jamaica's finest homeless hotels.
July 27, 2017, 4:36 pm
yshaggy from jamaica says:
This won't end until AA's stop making excuses for their behavior, until that time just keep a good supply of body bags on hand.
July 28, 2017, 7:15 am
geygey from beansville says:
Me yoseff is off topic but your whole response was off topic. #2wrongsmakesmeright
July 28, 2017, 11:20 am

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