A Blast from the Past, Inked Magazine
05:00 AM

Inked Magazine Premier Issue Inked Magazine was the first tattoo magazine for black skin. It had a short run of two issues, when Easy Riders Publications (later known as Paisano Publications) decided to stop the magazine for reasons unknown.

Don't get the 1999 Inked Magazine confused with the glitzy, glossy 2009 Inked -- they are two completely different beasts. Today's Inked is a progressive publication that pays homage to all of tattoo culture, unlike others in the industry.

Before this review goes any farther I would like to give special thanks to Sandra at Paisano Publications for sending me their last two copies of this groundbreaking magazine.

I remember buying Inked when it first hit the newsstands; boy, was I psyched. Finally a magazine about something I could relate to: black skin. I was even blown away by the cover. How did they get all that color into that black chick's skin, was the first thing on my mind.

In 1999, I had been collecting tattoo magazines for about 6 years and had just received my first tattoo from Pedro Baluga (who happened to be a guest editor for the premier issue). I was hungry for anything with information on tattooing black skin. The majority of magazines were a disappointment to me -- there was rarely a black person in any of them, and I just wanted to see an example of what was possible on my own complexion. I also just wanted a tattoo magazine to discuss something I could relate to: being a black kid from the inner city.

Inked Magazine Final IssueInked gave me what I was looking for: reviews of black bands, articles on African body modification rituals, articles on black tattooists. But all good things must come to an end. When I asked the publishers why they stopped after only two issues, no one knew.

I can only guess that 1999 just was not the time for a magazine like this. Now there are so many more examples of black folks with extensive tattoo coverage. Then, less so. Then, I was looking at 2pac as being "tatted", now he would just be a dabbler.

Easy Riders Publications should be commended for even putting this magazine out at the time. It also published Tattoo, Tattoo Flash, Easy Rider, Biker, Savage, V-Twin and In the Wind, and considering most of these titles were geared largely towards biker readership, creating a mag about tattooed black skin was a progressive and gutsy move.


Miguel, this is awesome, totally worth more than a nod and hopefully more significant than a meager two issues would suggest. Hopefully Urban Ink is picking up where they left off.

Um, Urban Ink is a becoming a big booty mag.

Nothing wrong with big booties of course but you forget it's supposedly about the tattoos. I know many who refuse to pick it up these days because they see it as an insult.

Would love your thoughts on the latest Urban Ink issues, Miguel.

Ha, WOOPS! I admit I've never really picked up a copy.. I don't know why I ever expect more from people!

Ha, WOOPS! I admit I've never really picked up a copy.. I don't know why I ever expect more from people!

Urban ink is getting better, but the honest truth is they have to sell to their constituency, which is the black urban market. Also you have to look at who is putting the mag out Black Man magazine which is essentially a booty magazine, so I would expect it to follow the same format as its parent magazine.

But they are getting better they have a few excellent articles this issue that I will expound upon this week.


hi, so, i've just spent all night working on a sleeve design for myself, my first colour piece i'd thought, anyway, i tried to look up some images/info to see what kind of colours would work on my black skin tone, only to find most people saying nothing would work apart from black palletes. is there a site anywhere with a definitive collection of imagery and info for black tat enthusiasts, like the mag you've mentioned above?

Thanks for this post. I've also been looking for images of coloured tattoos on Black skin. I actually do believe that the whole idea that only light or white skin can take colours is problematic on a whole bunch of levels. I think that the industry is dominated by folks who don't actually see or fully understand Black skin and who don't have to because they're not Black. :) If most of the training is done by people who shudder in horror at the idea of finding ways to put beautiful colour into darker skin tones, then yes, the idea of colour not working on Black skins will dominate. I think a mind shift is in order and I think that your post is part of that shift. Now to find me a tattooist located in Toronto who can do my skin justice. A tall order maybe. But in another ten years, who knows? :) Thanks again for your post.

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Marisa Kakoulas
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
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