In an era where celebrities are practically glorified by fans, not many celebs can earn the label “down-to-earth”.  However, Sassy and Puma from VH1’s Black Ink Crew manage to be as cool as ever.

The pair have become two of the show’s most memorable personalities and favorite friends. Instead of tattooing, the two bring their management and public relations skills to the world of ink. After three seasons of the show, Sassy and Puma have gained a considerable amount of notoriety, but at the end of the day the good vibes they give and receive are still most important.

“At the end of the day, all I have is my personality,” said Sassy, “I ride my bike. I still take the train and that’s important to me. I don’t ever want to forget who I am, where I come from, what I do. Know what I mean?”


The close friends and business partners got their first taste of the limelight in 2013 when the first season of Black Ink Crew hit the airwaves. After leaving Black Ink, the two opened their own shop last year. Although the Harlem tattoo parlor is closed now, the pair is getting ready to open INK 135, an upgrade from their first shop Ink 124.

“If you know Harlem, 124 wasn’t in the greatest area,” said Puma, “The new shop is a little more uptown. It’s going to be lit. I’m very happy.”

As they prepare for INK 135, they have set their sights on it being a quality tattoo shop where there’s a perfect balance between work and chill. Now that they have got another notch in their business belts and a hard to beat location between an IHOP and a Popeye’s, the team wants their good vibes and pay-it-forward attitude to set the tone for their customers and employees.

“It’s not about being a boss, it’s about being a leader,” said Sassy as plainly as possible.

After having mixed experiences with tattoo artists in the past, they also want to ensure that they hire only dope and committed artists to service their customers.

“I’ve hired a couple of crazies,” said Puma jokingly, “You got to give people a chance though.”


With many people agreeing that bad location was the primary turn off for Ink 124, this second time around might be a winner. Plus, VH1s Black Ink Crew is coming back to the tube August 24, which should create quite a buzz leading up to Ink 135’s grand opening.

Bottom line? Sassy and Puma are cool, forward thinking folks who know to show themselves friendly, a skill that will always help them in the long run.

 All Photos © 2015 Michael Lee Jr. (IcedUp Photography) | Stylists: Latasha Henderson-Robinson (VonRay) & Dennis Robinson II (VonRay) | Co-Stylist: Iesha Geiggar (ING) | MUA: Macy Martinez  & Jasmine Baylor (Cake Face) | Hair: Kendra Howard Assistant: Latierra Westley | Nail Tech: Kimberly Thomas | Apparel: No Filter Boutique (Top & Accessories for Sassy), Vessel Vintage (Sassy Pants), Alberto Pants/Schuyler 4 Showroom (Puma Pants), KMD Clothing (Puma Shirt) | Shot on location at Shreveport Ink Tattoo & Piercing Co. (Special thanks to the owner, Brandon Jones)