A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
There's some attempt to serve up inspiring messages, but mostly the focus is on interpersonal drama.
Positive Role Models
Some cast members have gone from living a rough street life to becoming professional tattoo artists. Characters behave wildly, but some show heart and perseverance. Some of Caeser's staff behave unprofessionally.
Violence & Scariness
Arguments break out between staff, friends, and others. Some folks cry out in pain while getting tattooed; at least one artist claims to enjoy inflicting it. Tattoo designs include images of AK-47s and other weapons.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
People are sometimes shown in their underwear when getting tattooed. One artist claims to enjoy tattooing women for this reason; others flirt with female clients and staff. References are made to women being out of control during their menstrual cycle. Pregnancy and illegitimacy is discussed. The crew goes to a strip club; pole dancing is visible.
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Words like "piss," "ass," "bastard" audible; curses like "bitch," "f--k," and "s--t" are bleeped. One tattoo artist uses "O' S--t" as his nickname/alias.
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Products & Purchases
The series is a promotional vehicle for Black Ink Gallery and the Black Ink Tattoo Parlor; the gallery's logo and phone number is visible.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Employees and clients drink champagne, wine, beer, and mixed drinks at the shop, bars, and social gatherings. Tattoos sometimes feature people smoking weed. Cigar smoking is visible.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Black Ink Crew features interpersonal drama between staffers of a Harlem-based, African-American-owned tattoo parlor. Expect lots of strong language, some sexual humor, and mature themes, including scenes in strip clubs, and conversations about child illegitimacy. Drinking and cigar smoking is visible, and arguments are frequent. Tattoos sometimes feature weapons, drugs, and other adult-themed imagery.
Is It Any Good?
Like most tattoo-themed reality shows, Black Ink Crew offers a glimpse at the kind of artistry that goes into creating images and inking them on clients. But the show's real focus is on the personalities of the crew, and the somewhat dysfunctional way they interact with each other both professionally and socially.
Some of clients are interesting, but there usually isn't enough focus on them and/or their personal stories to make them stand out. Despite some references about the tattoo parlor's role in the African-American community, the show doesn't delve into this, either. Overall, its the cast's constant bickering and flirtations that make the show mildly entertaining.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.