By Portia Batts
We all know tattoos is an artistic expression of what we are, what we like, who we honor, etc. but what are face tattoos to the black community, specifically young black men? Many hip hop artist in the entertainment business have face tattoos and have received more attention because of their expressionistic style. Publicity stunt maybe? The downside to this acclaimed attention influences the young men in our culture to think they’ll get the same notary. The face tattoos I see people with are more so to pay homage to those they’ve lost or to show their respect for the people they associate with. Is it a form of expressionistic art or youth stupidity? Anyone can argue the point that you won’t be successful in Corporate America with a face tattoo but do these kids with the tattoos even want to make it to Corporate America? The influence for this could be because of the mainstream rappers and it’s significance in the hood. However, compare it to white people with face tattoos. What is their job success like?
The reality is these people are already socially accepted and essentially, corporately accepted. But for the young black man with the face tattoo, he’s viewed as a threat to society or a “thug.” So is it safe to say all thugs get face tattoos? Does that mean the white guy with a tattoo on his face is a thug too? The results do not add up. The influence the hip hop culture has on the youth is negative on the black children because of what they see. What the young black males fail to realize about the rappers with the face tatts is they’re socially accepted. In other words, white people like them, are paying them, and they’ve made their mark in entertainment. But outside the entertainment world the problem is black men with these face tatts won’t be accepted into society. As much as I enjoy these rappers and their music, I can’t accept their appearance because it’s a facade- a misleading illusion that every black boy thinks it’s “cool” or it’s “loyalty” to where they come from. But it’s branding- it’s modern day slavery. It’s another oppressive way to keep black kids from succeeding in Corporate America. Besides, most people with face tattoos are viewed as “stupid people” so who’s really accepting this look? It’s not like Gucci Mane or Lil Wayne can come to every hood and give socially unaccepeted young men a job opportunity because they’re too busy making money( well not Gucci as of right now) but the bottom line is the hip hop world offers a sense of fantasy to what’s really going on.
The success for young black men are looking dim because they’re too involved with thinking the face tatts are loyal to who they rep, where they come from ,etc. But I’ve noticed how long it took for these rappers to get these face tatts, how far in their career were they before they actually made the decision to market their face? Two perfect examples, the Game and Lil Wayne. The Game wasn’t even hot when he get his face tatt of LA and look at how much publicity he got for it. Lil Wayne was well into his career when he made the transition. But again its all about acceptance, perception determines acceptance in the entertainment business. The tatts’ fit them well and goes great with the rap music they produce. But would you see Common with a face tatt, even Drake? The idea is unbeatable and inevitable, the hip hop game is playing with the faces of their fans, literally.