Gaining an ‘Edge’

Florida A&M University students searching for that perfect look will no longer have to travel far.

After over a year of planning negotiations, the university is finally ready to open the doors of its new on-campus barbershop and beauty salon, The Rattler’s Edge.

“It has taken a while to get all the details worked out,” said Malik Miller, 24, a FAMU graduate and owner of The Rattler’s Edge. “But it is definitely worth every bit of work that everyone’s put in.”

The opening of The Rattlers’ Edge marks the first time in over a decade that a black-owned business had received a contract to open its doors on campus.

“We are extremely excited about this,” said Vice President Virgil Miller. “Not only does it give alumni the opportunity to start their own business but it also gives us the chance to offer tangible services to the students that they will benefit greatly from.”

Malik Miller’s shop is located in the Snake Pit, a place that most students are already familiar with.

“I think that this location is ideal because students are used to going to the Snake Pit and the Rattler’s Den to hang out already,” he said. “It is right in the heart of the Set.”

The grand-opening of The Rattler’s Edge will be on Friday, January 9, 2004 at noon. Students can enjoy the new shop and it’s services, musical entertainment and food catered by Tommy D’s.

Malik Miller got the idea for the shop his freshman year.

“I always had to wait for someone to get out of class, and it was never convenient for my schedule. I wanted to be able to get a good cut between classes without having to travel far,” he said.

Malik Miller, who had been cutting hair for eight years, never knew his dream of an on-campus shop was possible until 2002-2003 SGA President Andre Hammel was running for office.

One of the items on Hammel’s platform that year was to offer students convenient services through an on-campus hair salon.

“As I traveled to other universities, I saw that a lot of other student unions worked to enhance the quality of life for their students,” Hammel said. ” I felt that FAMU deserved to have the same benefits.”

Ironically, Hammel was not the only one coining the idea. Malik Miller knew his chance had come when he learned Hammel shared similar views.

“That let me know that my vision was feasible,” he said. “I talked to Andre about it and we had some of the same ideas in mind, so I took that opportunity and ran with it.”

Adrienne Cheatham can be reached at

Tiffany Pitts can be reached at