Black Ink Tattoo Studio Sued By Customer Who Sustained Infection From Tattoo

Her dream ink turned into a tatt-eww.

Loni Tate, 31, said a trip to Harlem’s Black Ink Tattoo Studio, which is featured on a reality TV show, ended with her being hospitalized with an infection and permanent scarring.


Photo Credit: Bryan R. Smith for New York Daily News

“I have never been through anything like that,” the tattoo aficionado said.

The Harlem native got her first tattoo — a large Day of the Dead skull on her back — in 2012.

“I just thought they were cool and it’s a good way for self-expression,” she said.

Tate said she went to the Lenox Ave. shop for her sixth tattoo because she’s a fan of “Black Ink Crew,” the VH1 show about the business.

She’d gotten one there on her arm of a butterfly flying out of a skull — “I like skulls,” she said — in January 2014.

“I was very happy with it,” she said.

But her return trip three months later for a custom rose design on her forearm by another artist turned into a much thornier experience, she said.

The artist, Kelvin Cepeda, said he had to leave for “an event” about three hours in, and told her to come back the next day so he could finish up, Tate said.

She did, and said she was surprised to see he had a tattoo gun already set up when she walked in.

“They normally open it and set it up in front of you,” she said.


Photo Credit: Anthony Delmundo/New York Daily News

The red on black and black on red design came out just as she hoped, but three days later, “I was in excruciating pain,” Tate said.

She said she texted Cepeda, who told her she’d feel better in “a couple of days.”

But Tate said she felt much, much worse.


photo credit: Loni Tate

“I felt like my arm was on fire, like I’d been burned,” she said.

The ink then started swelling and oozing, and Tate wound up getting hospitalized for four days while doctors battled a deep infection.

Tate said she now believes Cepeda used a dirty tattoo pen on her.

She’s suing the shop for unspecified damages, while her lawyer, Mark Shirian, is calling for stricter regulations for city tattoo shops.

“People need to understand that a tattoo procedure is the equivalent of undergoing minor surgery,” Shirian said.

“More stringent regulations must be adopted immediately in order to protect the health and well-being of New Yorkers.”

This is the third lawsuit brought against Black Ink.

Another action earlier this month involved permanent scarring left on the left breast of a woman from South Carolina who’d asked Black Ink artists to cover up her old unicorn and horseshoe tattoos with fruits and vegetables to reflect her new interest in cooking, PIX11 reported.

Tate hasn’t gotten any tats since her incident, but said she will.

“Don’t be afraid to get a tattoo — just be cautious,” she said.

“Make sure the artist opens everything in front of you and everything is sterile.”

Black Ink did not respond to requests for comment.

“Black Ink Crew” is scheduled to return for a third season on VH1 in August.

The show’s website says the “docu-series follows the lives of Ceaser, Dutchess, Sassy, Puma and O’ S–t, as they work, live, party, and hang out in Harlem.”

Source: NY Daily News

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