Englewood barber who works on 'Chicago Fire' to host watch party

Sunni Powell, who cuts the hair of some cast members, will open up his business to celebrate the Season 12 finale.

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Eamonn Walker from "Chicago Fire" (left) poses with Sunni Powell, a native of Englewood, who has worked on the set of the NBC series for the past 12 years.

Eamonn Walker from “Chicago Fire” (left) poses with Sunni Powell, a native of Englewood, who has worked on the set of the NBC series for the past 12 years.

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An Englewood barber with ties to “Chicago Fire” is hosting a watch party Wednesday night to celebrate the NBC show’s Season 12 finale “Never Say Goodbye.”

The watch party, open to the public, starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Powell’s Barbershop, 1122 W. 63rd St., with the episode airing at 8 p.m., said Sunni Powell, the shop’s owner. He’s worked as a barber on the set for the past 12 years. For the past four years, he’s worked five days a week on the show, though his schedule for future seasons is uncertain.

“It’s one of the most exciting episodes that ‘Chicago Fire’ has ever had,” Powell said about the upcoming season finale. “It was one of the greatest seasons that ‘Chicago Fire’ has ever had. We used a lot of amazing locations in Chicago, it’s a lot more action, a lot more stunts. It’s a really exciting show.”

Powell, a native of the South Side neighborhood, said he wanted to do something to give back to Englewood.

In the past, he had engaged in more community activism, but he had been less active in recent years because of the coronavirus pandemic and the Writers Guild of America strike that halted production of the television series.

Sunni Powell, owner of Powell’s Barbershop in the Englewood neighborhood, sits inside his new barbershop in 2023.

Sunni Powell, owner of Powell’s Barbershop in the Englewood neighborhood, sits inside his new shop in 2023.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Powell reopened his barbershop last year in the E.G. Woode business incubator, a collective of Black-owned businesses. The reopening had marked a new chapter for Powell’s business after a gunman in 2016 opened fire inside his barbershop, killing one person and wounding another.

He sees the watch party as a celebration that will include free food and drinks. He expects some of the show’s crew members from hair and make-up to attend.

On the finale, viewers are expected to find out what will happen to Deputy District Chief Wallace Boden, the character played by Eamonn Walker. One of the original “Chicago Fire” cast members, Walker is leaving the show as a regular but is expected to appear on some future episodes.

Powell credited the actor for his success working on set.

Walker “demanded that a Black man be his barber from the get-go, and it’s changed my life,” said Powell, who also cuts the hair of stars Joe Minoso (who plays Joe Cruz) and Daniel Kyri (Darren Ritter).

He described Walker as a big brother and inspiration, adding that working on the production stabilized his life.

Eamonn Walker from "Chicago Fire" talks to a group of teens who were getting their hair cut in 2017 at Powell's Barbershop.

Eamonn Walker from “Chicago Fire” talks to a group of teens who were getting their hair cut in 2017 at Powell’s Barbershop.

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Powell recalled how Walker even bailed him out of jail once after he was pulled over and arrested while on the way to the set because of unpaid tickets. Walker took photos and signed autographs for the police officers, who didn’t initially believe Powell when he told them he was on the way to work on the set.

He also recalled how Walker spent time talking to teens on probation who were getting haircuts at his barbershop.

“He came in and talked and gave about a half an hour to an hour of his time to give them an inspiring talk,” Powell said. “It was a beautiful thing.”

Powell said Walker also helped set up a program to help children from the community learn about careers in film, and he’s also helped other crew members going through personal hurdles.

“He’s literally like everybody’s big brother and father and uncle,” Powell said.

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