Ceaser – The Black Ink Boss
As owner and creator of the Black Ink Brand, Ceaser, née David Emanuel, has definitely seen an astronomical surge in popularity ever since the January 2013 explosion of his, now, mega-hit VH-1 reality series, Black Ink Crew. Now in its fifth season, Bronx native Ceaser, and company have definitely become household names. However, for those though who may be living under a rock somewhere, Black Ink Crew chronicles the daily operations and staff drama at an African American-owned and operated tattoo shop located in the heart of Harlem, New York.
Parlé Magazine recently caught up with the all-too-busy, no nonsense Boss, that we, the masses, love to watch. He give us the breakdown on a number of things going on in the world of a Boss!
Earliest Memory Of Tattoo Art:
Ceaser: My love for tattoos first came when I was like around sixteen, when I got my first tattoo. I was just in love with it. It was something that was just totally different and made you unique. And all my friends at the time, I used to hang out with a lot of older dudes, and all of them had tattoos. I used to be like, “You know, I gotta get tattooed. I gotta be tattooed. It just looks so cool.” And I always used to see the guys in the foreign cars with the tattoos and the nice women, so I always said, “I need to have tattoos,” and one thing led to the next… and I just loved it so much, I started doing ’em.
Ceaser: I mean, as a child growing up I’ve always been an artist. Like I always drew. I started with Disney characters, then comic book characters… then I started doing live drawings and stuff. So at the end of the day, I kinda could say I was made to be a tattoo artist.
Ceaser: Truthfully, my neighborhood used to inspire me because I grew up on 174th, which a lot of people don’t know that’s like the birth place of Hip-Hop and graffiti and whatnot, and that’s the era I grew up in. So it’s known as the creator of graffiti and stuff… it made you more artistic.
Catching The Attention Of The Powers That Be At VH-1:
Ceaser: Chuckles Well VH-1 seen us on a previous [MTV] show – me and my cousin on – Son of Gun, which was the Cory Gunz show. And they seen us on a pilot and they loved us, and they wanted to see if they could get us on something. They tried for a while, but I used to kinda deter it because I really wasn’t somebody’s TV thing. And then, what happened was eventually I just gave in. At first, I thought it was gonna just be a pilot and they just give us a quick check and that’d be it, but it turned out to be something big.
The Runaway Success Of Black Ink Crew:
Ceaser: I think everybody’s surprised by how big Black Ink has become. I don’t think anybody expected it to be this huge of a success. We’re doing numbers like Kim K and them. Like we’re right behind Kim Kardashian for all-time cable right now. They’re number, I think, 17 (and) we’re number 18, so that’s a pretty big accomplishment.
The Black Ink Brigade:
Ceaser: Besides me, the crew is Teddy… of course Sky, Walter and Richard, which used to be O’S**t. Then we got some new members… as far as Melody that you remember from last season. We got new, new, new people as far as like Young Bae, Kit… and we got another character that’s coming on, which is Kevin. So we got a whole bunch of people.
What Can Be Expected Throughout This Season And Beyond:
Ceaser: A whole different season than you ever seen before. You’re gonna see a whole show wandering around a relationship; you’re gonna see a whole new branch of how Black Ink is and how we really is on and off season.
How To Stay Relevant:
Ceaser: Never being stagnant. Always trying to push ahead, and trying to get more out of life. At the end of the day, if you stay and be comfortable you’ll never reach the goal that you need to. And I always believe that if I sit there and just be like, “I’m happy,” I’ll stay with just what I have and I’m never gonna achieve what I need to achieve.
The Direction Of Black Ink:
Ceaser: Well right now, I’m working on franchising the Black Ink. I’m trying to make Black Ink a franchise. I opened up a shop in Atlanta and I also have a shop in Orlando, and I’m opening up another shop in Connecticut in the next couple months. So right now, I’m working on being a mogul.
Ceaser: I mean I’ll be honest, there’s a couple of people that I’ve watched on TV that surprised me; certain actors and stuff. It’s like, “Why do you want to get tatted by me?” It’s an honor. I really have a big list of celebrity clients on my waiting list right now that’s just waiting for me to get to like Atlanta (or) somewhere, so they can get really close ’cause they work and they don’t wanna keep flying back and forth. At the end of the day, I’m just blessed to be able to put my talents out there that people who are the most talented people in the world that profess it.
Shining Career Moment:
Ceaser: My highlight right now is getting Atlanta. Atlanta’s my highlight. Like Atlanta Black Ink I’m really happy for that because that’s something that’s really an accomplishment. You know I made another shop in New York, but now I made a whole other shop in a whole nother state thousands and thousands of miles from my original shop. That’s an accomplishment to be able to do that.
Personal Tattoo Collection:
Ceaser: I’ll probably say I have like 35 almost 40 tattoos. Nah, I think I’m gonna finish my body up. I got like probably 10, 15 more tattoos to get.
The Future Of Black Ink:
Ceaser: Say 5 years from now? 5, 10 years from now I could see myself basically rich and owning a lot of things. Like I really got the bug to wanna be an entrepreneur and really wanna be someone reckoned in this world 5 to 10 years from now. Before I used to be like, “Oh, maybe,” but I really see it as a possibility right now and I see myself cornering the tattoo market.
Ceaser: My next step is just building the brand. That’s my basis of life right now; building the brand and making sure my family is good. Other than that, I’m just rollin’ with the punches.
Ceaser: Make sure that you follow Black Ink. Also look out for Black Ink Atlanta, which launched March 1st, our grand opening. Also look out for our re-grand opening of Black Ink 113th. I also wanna push out Black Ink Orlando and Black Ink Magazine. There’s a lot of Black Ink things going on, and if you ever get confused go to our website: www.blackink.nyc.
Thanks, man, for taking your time out with me today, continued success to you, and good luck in all future endeavors…
Ceaser: Alright, thank you, and you have a blessed day.
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