As if it wasnt extremely difficult for us already, may I ask, Why are
we now putting tattoos on our faces? Do we not realize that a tattoo
on our face will probably make our scarce options that more limited?
Or are we just so far gone that we just dont care?
When I was a child, growing up tattoos werent a fad in the black
community. Though I do not recall seeing them often, when they were
viewed it was done with intended purpose, symbolizing a persons
travels and affiliations. The travels that Im referencing was
likely to prison, in which those jail house tats were easily
identifiable and the affiliations that I mention were either
acknowledgments of serving in the armed forces or belonging to a
motorcycle gang. Needless to say, growing up in the inner city of
Baltimore, I was more familiar with the faded black, nondescript and
colorless jail house tattoos. Though they were adorned minimally,
even then, convicts had enough intelligence to place their tattoos on
areas of their body that they could either reveal or choose to cover up
when they had something very important to do; such as, going on a job
interview as they tried to find work to reintegrate themselves back
Now I know that some people use their body as canvas to depict their
life story through decorative art. Im not opposed to tattoos at all,
nor have I appointed myself the AOTL, the Ambassador of Tattoo
Locations. As a matter of fact, I have two tattoos myself, but I
decided to place them both in discreet places. Only to be revealed by
choice. Easy to be covered when necessary to adorn my dark colored
suit and power red tie, while sitting across the desk from someone
designated for me to convince, why Im the best applicant for the
Lets be sensible people. Were not all going to be NBA athletes or
find ourselves making a living in the performing arts field as
musicians. Were not all going to be successful entrepreneurs. Some
of us will have to eventually grow up and get employed. And if you
dont know, please allow me to tell you: the unemployment rate is
high, affirmative action is now only a term rendered utterly useless by
application and your homeboy cant get you a job with tear drops, Gucci
emblems, Polo logos, gang insignia, and all the other dumb shit that
we now get tatted on our face. Smarten up people. Or again, I ask,
are we that so far gone that we just dont care?
As I stated earlier, when I was a child, tattoos werent what we raved
about. Instead, where Im from, we all wanted permanent gold teeth.
As crazy as it may sound now, I recall as young as elementary school,
in fifth grade, kids getting gold teeth for their birthdays or
holidays. I wanted to be part of the in crowd, I didnt want to feel
left out at the time, so I asked my parents to take me to Dr. Russell,
the local Pediatric Dentist, to have a permanent gold tooth placed in
the front of my mouth. I envisioned getting my tooth designed with a
champagne glass, tilted straw and three raised bubbles, as if my glass
was filled with the best. Then eventually I was going to get a second
one beside it so every time I smiled it would look like my teeth were
toasting. But unlike many of the cool parents, when asked, my folks
looked at me like I was crazy. Still I persisted and I wanted to know
why all of my friends could enrich their smile with gold and I
couldnt. I was too young to understand the most logical reasonings,
the damage it does to your teeth and how one with gold teeth is
perceived, so my mother made something up that I believed for years.
She told me that as a student preparing to graduate from elementary
school and enter middle school as a sixth grader, I still had my baby
teeth in my mouth. I was damn near grown before I realized the story
my mother had told me.
Still, Im appreciative for the story that she told me because I was
deterred from getting permanent gold teeth as a child. I then lived
long enough to see the damage that gold teeth caused, how people with
gold teeth were perceived by those unfamiliar with the culture, how
challenging it was to find decent paying jobs with gold teeth in your
mouth and the difficulties of having them removed. I know, everybody
get grown and talk about getting things removed such as gold teeth and
tattoos. I then ask, How often do we get them removed?
I correlate gold teeth of the past with tattoos of the present. I
understand that its a means of expression, which we all have the
liberty to do. I just want our youth and young people to be conscious
of the life altering decisions that they make. Unless you have Lil
Wayne or Baby dough, please dont get any tattoos on your face or all
over your bald head. And even if you have money like they do, please
dont get any tattoos on your face or all over your bald head. Im
tryna help you, just like my mother helped me. Now thanks to her, I
dont have two champagne glasses, with tilted straws and three raised
bubbles, as if my glasses were filled with the best bubbly, on my baby
teeth, appearing to toast every time I smile. And it wasnt as hard
for me to find a decent paying job! Thanks mom!
Hopefully some young person will read what Ive written, consider what
Im saying and decide to choose their future over their present. The
same things that make you laugh and rejoice, could also make you cry.
Tattoo tears of joy.