Beloved south Queens barber slain last year is honored with street renaming

Photos courtesy of the office of Councilman I. Daneek Miller


Southeast Queens residents and local representatives gathered on Sept. 16 to honor beloved barber Zanu Glenroy Simpson with street co-naming.

The corner of 99th Ave. and Hollis Ave. was co-named Zanu G. Simpson Way to commemorate the barber who was killed in an attempted robbery in July 2017.

“In renaming this street after Zanu G. Simpson, we memorialize him as a beloved community leader, a successful barber and generous neighbor,” Congressman Gregory Meeks said.

Councilman I. Daneek Miller agreed. “A street naming is symbolic of a neighborhood’s identity and tells future generations its story,” he said.

Zanu Simpson co-owned Strictly Skillz barbershop in Hollis with his older brother Sam “Sneed” Simpson. Their business was a huge success, serving local residents and even celebrity clients such as Mobb Deep and Kevin Durant.

“The dedication of Zanu G. Simpson Way will reflect that Z was a man of initiative who never lost his humility despite his success and gave unsparingly to his community,” Miller said.

Simpson’s family moved to the U.S. from the island of Jamaica when he was 1. He grew up in Queens with his four brothers and seven sisters. Simpson excelled in football and basketball throughout school. After graduating from Bayside High School, Simpson joined his brother at Strictly Shilly, where he learned how to be a barber.

Simpson was greatly loved by the community, known as Z Da Great to locals. He and his brother were loved not only for their great barbershop but also for their service work. They offered free haircuts to local kids and organized an event at Peters Field every year to give school supplies to students who needed them.

“Zanu was truly genuine, and losing him was devastating to our family,” Sam Simpson said. “Though my baby brother, best friend and co-worker is gone, Zanu’s death will not be in vain. I will honor his legacy by continuing the work we did together, including Z Da Great Day at Peters Field. This is just the beginning.”

The City Council decided to rename the street in honor of Simpson in June.

“[Simpson] was a gem in this neighborhood and a community leader,” Assemblyman Clyde Vanel said. “May his legacy live on.”

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