A tattoo artist/television personality/entrepreneur is BACK on VH1!
Katrina “Kat Tat” Jackson is making a return to the Black Ink Crew franchise via Black Ink Crew Compton. As previously reported Kat is returning for the first time in four years, and the thriving businesswoman has become the first BIPOC woman to own a tattoo shop in Beverly Hills. This will be her first time back on the franchise since departing from Black Ink Crew Chicago and she’s not coming alone, she’s bringing her superstar tattoo crew with her.
Not only is Kat Tat preparing for her Black Ink Crew return but she’s celebrating some BIG news. News broke today that she’s signed a first-Look, development, and executive producer deal with Paramount. Included with the agreement, Jackson will develop and Executive Produce original content for Paramount in collaboration with her production company, Enigma Entertainment Group.
“I couldn’t feel more blessed and I’m excited to partner with Paramount as they continue to bolster a new generation of BIPOC and women creators,” said Kat via an official press release. “I’m thrilled to not only return to TV, but to also create and produce new, fun, fresh, compelling, and impactful content across all platforms.”
BOSSIP recently chatted with Kat about all things Enigma Beverly Hills, her MAJOR life updates, and what to expect on Black Ink Crew Compton.
This is your return to the “Black Ink” franchise after four years, how has life been post-“Black Ink Crew: Chicago”? We see you’re engaged and pregnant with your second child.
Everything wasn’t perfect right away. But my shop’s been open for a few years now. We’re going on four years this June. I’m with the love of my life. We got my baby, Jackson. We have another one on the way in July. So yes, stuff has been happening really fast. And now, the TV opportunity has come back around. So yeah, lots of stuff.
Let’s talk about Enigma Beverly Hills. We heard you’re the first BIPOC woman to open a tattoo shop in Beverly Hills. Congratulations to you!
What was that process like for you? Was it difficult?
Well, first I guess one of the biggest struggles was actually establishing myself in Los Angeles, period. Because I thought that once I left Chicago, I thought “Oh, this is a national show, I’m going to have the clients, I’ll be booked up anywhere I go!” That wasn’t the case. My clients were in Chicago. So when I first moved to LA and I wasn’t on TV anymore, people didn’t know that I was living in LA. Everybody was like, “Yeah, I want to get a tattoo. You’re in Chicago?” No. So I kind of fell flat on my face. I had to pretty much start from scratch, give my clientele up, network, meet the right people, and link with the other artists.
After that I think it was two years, two or three years, it was finally time to open up my own shop. I had a dream team that I was set on and I reached out to them. I found the location. It was all kinds of ups and downs with securing the location, just money-wise. I put down my last dime just on the deposit, not even on the build-out in the furniture and everything. I had to do a tattoo for everything. Every piece of furniture, everything in there was like, “Oh, so I got to get this, boom, another tattoo.” It was a very, very tough process. But it was so worth it.
And to see the artists that I had on my roster that I wanted to work there, to see how they saw the vision and believed in it and wanted to help me make this come true, it was better than anything I could have ever imagined.
Tell us about your dream team at Enigma Beverly Hills. Who are they? What are they like? What do they bring to the shop?
All of them are hand-selected award-winning artists. A lot of people are familiar with my bestie, Kevin Laroy. He was also on the Black Ink franchise. He was on [Black Ink] New York. He and I moved to LA around the same time. It’s so crazy because you would’ve thought we’ve known each other forever because our lives and pasts were just so parallel. But he and I just clicked. Many people are familiar with his work and you’re going to see him also on the episodes coming up.
Dachay, he is Los Angeles-born and raised. He’s an amazing artist. You’re going to meet him as well.
Nelly, she was one of the first female tattoo artists, one of the first Black female tattoo artists that I followed way, way back when I first started tattooing. I used to just search on Instagram. I’ve been following her long before we even met. So when she came into my shop, it was like, “Girl, I’ve been following you since 2009, 2010.” So it was just crazy how that came about.
Booky, he’s an amazing artist as well. His work is phenomenal. He’s like the family man in the shop, you know, kind of like the father figure who keeps everything in line.
And Diana. Diana moved to Los Angeles recently from her small town to kind of get out of her shell and, you know, really, really flourish as a tattoo artist. And, she’s an amazing artist as well.
And I can’t give too much away. But we’re also going to be adding some new people that you’ll be able to meet and see on the show. So that’s yeah, we got, we got the dream team. We’re all stars for real.
So we see that you are meeting with the Black Ink Crew Compton team. How does that team compare to your team at Enigma? The Compton team is a rambunctious group. Are they more turned up than your crew?
I don’t want to give too much away, but you’ll see how it all kind of unfolds. You got to tune in on Monday to see how Enigma is brought into this. I think people will be surprised.
We’re going to have some newbies coming into this #BlackInk franchise. As a vet, what do you hope they learn throughout this process and what do you hope you can teach them about this?
What I hope to provide and bring to the Black Ink franchise is elevation to the black tattoo industry. This show has been a platform for all of us and now it’s done amazing things. So what I want is to stay true to that, to the talent and less of people who just want to be on TV to rah-rah, and to fight and things like that. I want to continue to push this tattoo industry forward. Just for our culture, period.
What is the Black tattoo network like, is it competitive? Are people really welcoming? I feel like we don’t see that much representation but it’s a great thing that we do have Black Ink for that.
Yeah, absolutely. You know, there’s a lot of camaraderies and you’ll see some of it too across this franchise later this season in New York. You’re going to see the franchises get together, but it’s camaraderie in such a positive way. We all do need to come together and kick down the doors together. But I haven’t seen too much competition across at all. Like despite the small little confrontations and things that I’ve seen, I feel like if you really dive into the Black tattoo industry, now it is more ccamaraderie.
It is more shops being open to bringing in other young, ambitious artists to teach them how to professionally tattoo. So they don’t have to be looked at as scratchers anymore. Like, we just tattoo out of our basements. No, that’s because we couldn’t get apprenticeships in professional shops because it was a racist industry. And now you got Black-owned tattoo shops. So you can come in and get your license and be a professional and be registered and do things the right way. So despite the riff-raff that you see on TV, I think it’s more camaraderie than anything.
Lastly, let us know what else you have going on and how we can keep up with you and the Black Ink Compton Crew.
So I’ve been tattooing for a long time. I think I’m going on 13 years now. And right now I’m a new mommy. And I want to take these years to focus on my babies while they’re little. I got another one on the way and I’m a wife to be, so I want that, I think I deserve it. I owe it to myself to be able to take this time to focus on my growing family. And in that, I want to make the right decisions to where the business can thrive while I’m away doing that while I’m focusing on my family. I have to think smarter now. It’s not just about how many clients I have. It’s not just about that. It’s about expanding the business and taking those next steps to where it can be successful with me not having to be there all the time.
Let us know how to keep up with you on social.
I am @kattatgirl, K-A-T-T-A-T-G-I-R-L. And then the shop is Enigma, Beverly Hills. You can go to that page and check out all the artists that work there. They’re amazing!
A BRAND NEW episode of #BlackInkCrewCompton airs tonight at 9/8c on @vh1!