5 Black Female Tattoo Artists Who Are Dominating the IndustryApr 21, 2021 04:00PM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho
Although tattoos date back to 2500 BC in Ancient Egyptian and Nubian culture, they remained a serious taboo in the Black community for a long time. For many years, tattoos were associated with gang members and prisoners. However, now society is more accepting of tattoos and people of all different walks of life are getting inked.
The tattoo industry is generally White-dominated and male-dominated. Therefore, we’ve highlighted some of the best Black female tattoo artists who are talented, skilled, and are overcoming the challenges of being Black and female in a White-dominated subculture.
Miryam Lumpini is known as the “Witch Doctor of Los Angeles”. Born in Sweden but also of Congolese descent, Miryam’s work is filled with vibrant and colorful flowers, galaxies, animal illustrations, and anime characters. Miryam has inked celebrities such as Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd, Kehlani, Jhene Aiko, and Slick Woods. She’s also the Global Director of Tattoo Artistry for KVD Beauty, and the Global Creative Director of BodyMark by BIC, which are temporary tattoo markers.
Doreen Garner is a Brooklyn-based tattoo artist, body modifier, and sculptor. She uses her work to support Black communities. Last year she started a tattoo project for Black History Month called "The Black Panther Project," in which 28 people got permanent designs to support Black pride. “People should get tattooed by everyone but it’s also important for Black people to get the experience of getting tattooed by another Black person,” said Garner in an interview with Inked Mag. “I’m not saying that people should only get tattooed by people of color, but I do think that it can be a different type of experience.”
With more than nine years of experience and her own studio, Ethel Laka is one of the very few Black female tattoo artists in South Africa. Laka is best known for her deft detailed work in flora, fauna, and portraiture work. She gave many people beautiful tattoos at Afropunk Joburg in 2018 and 2019. “I always affirm that I am an artist first, who tattoos. I strongly believe that art comes first,” said Laka in an interview with Jameson Indie Channel. “It is the difference that sets us apart from the rest of tattooists who have mastered the technique of tattooing but work with no flair or style.”
Brittany Randell is a Toronto-based tattoo artist who is extremely versatile and primarily tattoos people of color. Her work includes portraits, blackout tattoos, fine line flowers, cursive lettering, and detailed illustrations. “I always love and remember my Black female portraits and the people who get them. I love to encourage Black female representation through my artwork,” said Randell in an interview with Inside Out.
Katrina Jackson, also known as “Kat Tat”, is a celebrity tattoo artist who appeared on Black Ink Crew: Chicago. Kat is the first Black woman to own and operate a tattoo shop in the Beverly Hills area. "There was a stereotype tied to Black artists, where many of us were considered untrained. Now, thanks to social media and reality television, the industry is knocking on our door," Kat said to Refinery29. “Being a woman in a traditionally male-dominated tattoo industry never made me feel any less than any of my male counterparts. I never felt like I had a disadvantage because I was a woman,” she told Black Enterprise.
Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.
She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.
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