Woman claims tattoo parlor featured on VH1 left her disfigured

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NEW YORK -- A woman claims a tattoo parlor in New York best known for its VH1 reality show "Black Ink Crew" left her "disfigured."

Asabi Barner was a confident woman in her 30s. Her body was never something she felt a need to cover up, until now. A tattoo coverup changed her life last year, Barner said in an exclusive interview with WPIX.

Barner says she desperately wanted to replace a unicorn and horseshoe tattoo she got when she was only 18. She went to Black Ink, a tattoo parlor in Harlem that has its own reality show on VH1, a massive following and is often frequented by celebrities.

Barner says the main reason she picked the parlor is because they claim to be the best when it comes to tattooing on African American skin.

A massive chest tattoo, she says, left her "disfigured."

While the tattoo was in Barner’s words “phenomenal” at first, the next morning the area surrounding her left breast started to ooze with pus.

Barner consulted a tattoo artist in South Carolina, where she lives. The artist there said, in an attempt to bring out a white color for her tattoo, her skin was “overworked."

Now more than a year later, Barner is still in pain.

Her skin has keloids, is raised, burns and itches to a point she can only have relief by applying an ice pack every single day.

Even a consultation with a plastic surgeon brought no hope. A doctor told her surgery would only make the scar worse.

“In the intimate moments, it creates a problem because you don’t have that confidence. I wasn’t overly confident before, but I felt good about myself. Felt good about my body, but it just changes you,” said Barner.

Barner is now suing Black Ink, claiming the shop was reckless, careless and negligent.

WPIX attempted to reach Black Ink numerous times, but was never able to reach anyone for comment. The voicemail for the shop was full and gates were closed the news crews went by the business.


  • Yolanda

    That tattoo artist must have went over the same tattoo line twice to make this happen doing this keloids the skin I will sue them too . Can’t be erased makes skin looks bad also if she allergic to that ink it happens to with the itching .

    • Ryuu

      Appreciating a body is being able to do whatever you want with your skin without other people worrying about it like yourself. If you think someone is “stupid” for buying what they want with their own money then I can only imagine what you think you are for not getting a tattoo.

      • Serio Vitium

        Keloids aren’t the fault of the tattoo parlor – they form naturally as a result of trauma, if the subject is predisposed (which is largely a genetic thing – black women are in a risk group.) While the formation of keloids from tattooing isn’t always guaranteed – if she had any injury, a cut, stabbed with a pencil, etc., she’d likely see the same thing.

        I actually suffer from a similar condition, and tried to have a keloid surgically removed – and the resultant scarring response from my body essentially made it worse. Now I leave them alone. While I empathize, I wonder if the tattoo shop will be found guilty in spite of her having a pre-existing condition. Will all tattoo parlors make people sign something that states they don’t have keloids and waive their right to sue if they scar that way? Not sure what the solution is, except the very obvious “don’t have ink injected into your body.”

  • riley sharp

    people smoke knowing it MIGHT give them cancer, they speed knowing it MIGHT lead to an accident, and they get tattoos knowing they MIGHT have a negitve effect afterwards. im not saying she shouldn’t get tattoos ( im all for free expression) but when bad things happen you cant go off on the people you paid to do it. would you sue a doctor if you knew the percent of surviving is low or sue the gas station for selling you cigarettes when you get cancer? bottom line is she went in hoping for the best but drew a short straw.

    • Sandra Jefferson

      I agree with you one hundred percent…leave you body alone..or know that there may be consequences for you messing with it..I got a bad tattoo,but its bad because I keep jumping around because of the pain..I didn’t tell him to stop..this was my fault…i’m a grown women and made a conscience decision to go in that shop,knowing things could go wrong…..

  • orchidmg

    This was done a year ago. Can she prove who gave her that tattoo? Why not sue months ago? Every tattoo, no matter the size, color or B&W, and location on the body can have its risks. When you sign the paperwork before getting the tattoo you pretty much sign off the artist’s responsibility if something goes wrong.

  • Shizz

    You know from an early age whether you have keloid skin or not. I call BS, because knowing that you have keloid skin you know it’s a huge risk to get a tattoo or piercing.

    • J

      that’s not true. I have several tattoos and never had a keloid appear in that area. I now have more keloids. it’s a dermatogy issue. I didn’t know about keloids until I was in the Army 20 yrs ago and got steroid injections to reduce the ones that I had. I may end up having to start the injections again since they do hurt and itch. skin trauma can cause a person to get keloids that has never had them before. they happen in most areas that lack hair or hair follicles.

      I hate them with a passion and I do everything I can to prevent them but sometimes things are unpreventable.

  • keloid skin

    I really don’t know how this chick feels she can sur Black Ink for her having Keloid skin. She pushed it getting the tattoo in the first place knowing her skin is subject to keloids. You cannot sue them because you chose to do something to your body that you knew had the possibility of keloing. Get a life people look for anything to try and get ahead. Why would you go over the tattoo you already had youwere the reason your skin was “OVERWORKED”

  • blamegame

    oh big deal. what she gets for going to a reality show scratcher instead of a legit, professional tattooist.

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