It’s More Than A Tattoo, It’s a Rites of Passage

I am NO LONGER accepting the things I cannot change. I AM changing the things I cannot accept -Angela Davis

tattoo talk

Hi! I’m Imani K Brown and I have a very special tattoo practice not just as a kawaii tattoo artist (one of the rare black kawaii artists) but also as a tattoo therapist ^.^

In this piece, I’ll hand deliver my 3 secrets to a dope a$ tattoo experience.

But first here’s a tad more about me and WTF a tattoo experience is ~

Here goes.


kawaii tattoo artist

WHO ARE YOU, ipukekawaii ?!

As I said, I’m Imani –


chest tattoo

an avid dreamer (and self proclaimed magical girl✨) who loves to connect with whimsical people over some  creative and healing tattoo vibes, helping them achieve their dream tattoo <3

As a 15-year vet, I’ve seen a lot and a lo weighs on my heart about how kinsfolk see themselves in tattoo – as a fly by night kinda fleeting moment and not the special rite of passage innately within us.

So …

when we connect my specific VMG (vision, mission, goal) is

(V) help black people understand that tattoo is an innate part of us. It’s in our DNA!

(M) connect client-friends with their innate spirit tattoo

(G) change the narrative that tattoo is superficial. For us especially, it’s NOT.

It’s a form of communication, identification, and healing.

The most important (in my honest opinion) is healing.

Which leads us to what a tattoo experience is.

Cuz getting a tattoo is

SO MUCH MORE than getting a tattoo

(👆🏾if you tweet or quote that, I want credit and a screen shot 😹)

tattoo talk

As a person who came into tattoo as a self harmer, having my own bout of mental illness (I call them learning curves)  always preach that tattoo is an apex of a series of experiences, bundled into one experience – a rite of passage. And anyone looking to get tattooed should honor that even if you feel it’s just an ‘itch’.

I promise you it’s so much more <3

I took time with my customers (some I help weekly and others I see on special occasion)

to come up with the most important things any of us should do to honor tattoo as a rite of passage.

I call them my 3 secrets but they aren’t really secrets. It’s just things we don’t do due diligence with since tattoo is now so common place on society’s pop-culture tab.

BUT if we did, tattoo experiences would become more of a rite of passage practice allowing any tattoo collector to slow down, confer about their ideas (both internally and outwardly) and make EVERY piece going forward a valuable part of their body art journey.

I told you, my GOAL is to help change that narrative

tattoo tour

I am NO LONGER accepting the things I cannot change. I AM changing the things I cannot accept -Angela Davis

(👆🏾repeat this 3x daily)

tattoo tour

More Than a Tattoo

Crafting a tattoo experience takes work on both the client and artist’s part.

Sometimes falling into a local parlor, choosing a bit of flash, and waiting for the first available artist won’t do. Sorry *kanye shrug*

So try to practice these things instead…

Secret #1

Tattoo is a Rites of Passage.

(NOT a fleeting moment) ~

Again. Tattoo is an apex experience that includes a bunch of small experiences to get there. In the chair. Ready to change …. permanently.

So the quicker you KNOW you’re conscious of WHY you’re itching to get tattooed you’ll unlock better ideas for your tattoo, style, & placement.

Secret #2

TRUST the Process. In fact, MARRY IT!

If you seek an artist out, make an appointment and end up in their care … you sought them out for a reason! Let them be – to create in their style with your ideas. We’re NOT all the same you know ^.^

 In getting to know your artist’s process communicate thoroughly, ask all the questions to satisfaction and get to know your artist. In return I guarantee that your artist will meet you half way and give you their best.

You did want to work with them for a reason, right?!

TRUSTS the Process, as my client-friend & success coach Mike Powell would say.

As a result your tattoo will naturally become a collaborative work of art.

samurai tattoo by imani k brown

Secret #3

Trust the Vibe

Last but not least … energy is e’rythang! So seek your artist out even by their lifestyle and interests.

I am a kawaii (cute) creative nerd at heart … with a few learning curves. And attract a lot of who I am. And I LOVE it! Because not only am I helping someone else but by helping people like me I’m also helping myself. It’s a vicious cycle *wink, wink*

Seriously, trusting how relatable an artist is to you, on a personal and professional level is nothing but a win. Look at your artists lifestyle and overall vibe, say what’s up on social media. But don’t be a stalker. And don’t be a lurker either … there’s a fine line LOLz

But trust it. Let it lead you and what you may find is not just an artist – but a lifetime friend + cheerleader who’ll get it. EVERY time you need a ‘therapy session’

See dat?!

And we haven’t even talked about the tattoo!

See … tattoo may be a bit heavier than what we’re told + sold.

Think about it.

If you enjoyed this do me 2 solids and


2. Check me out on IG TV

Happy viewing! 



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Imani’s Kawaii Creative Corner (@ipukekawaii) on


Gambare, minna
Love, Imani (イマーニ)

Let’s keep in Touch!



insta_iconfacebook_icon twitter_icon email_icon


18 thoughts on “It’s More Than A Tattoo, It’s a Rites of Passage

  1. I love that you’re so heavy into Kawaii! I love kawaii culture although I don’t fully dabble in it! I love your dedication to tattoo culture! It’s definitely rocking wearable art!

  2. It is funny, when people ask me why I have as many tattoos as I do, I tell them because it is therapeutic. At the time I got each of the tattoos I had, I was going through something, and getting the tattoo helped.

    1. Thank you! I was told you can’t do finalize o dark skin, so I took the challenge to learn it as I see and process art in layers ^.^

  3. You are so cool! I don’t have a tattoo but seeing your work makes me want to have the experience at least once.

    1. Aww thanks so much! <3 It IS an experience. BUT you can also do something less temporary though the effect will possibly be more body positivity & appreciation, through body painting. It's more empowering, I would say <3

  4. Wow your work is really nice. You’re truly talented, and I’ve never heard of tattoo therapy. Is it anything like acupuncture?

    1. Thank you kindly and YES! There is a style of tattoo therapy that is much like the idea of acupuncture with a permanent mark left behind. Known to possibly still be practiced in Ethiopia, I am actually trying to locate active tribes that still practice more of this to learn and bring it back <3

  5. Okay so… this is the first time I have ever heard of “tattoo therapy”. So Imma say that I’m pretty sure it’s not a part of my cultural DNA. LOL! It’s in interesting topic for sure though.

    1. Sure it is but if your eyes are closed to it or you haven’t needed to access that particular experience for yourself, I could see how you think it is not. Unless you’re not black. And that is a whole other conversation ^.^ But you’ve heard of tattoo and definitely scarification (if you saw Black Panther that is what that is) Also to be clear it is TATTOO that is innate. Not the therapy part. That is a specific reason one would receive tattoo.

  6. Oh my those are so detailed. Do you them in one setting or do they come back. Time is why I’ve been scared to get a really detailed tat. I don’t know if you could sit still long enough. I have three now. I need one to get get covered and then maybe add one or two more.

  7. I started getting tattoos at 18, they started to become milestones in the early part of my adult life. I have six in total, I wish I had given some more thought. I have been wanting a lotus flower at the top of my back for some time now.

  8. Oh wow such a stunning collection of tattoos. I have ye to get inked but most because nothing has mattered enough.

  9. You are a true artist. I enjoyed seeing your work and learning about the philosophy behind it. I agree that tattoos are rites of passage, and I’m ready for my first. Please let me know when you’ll be in NY again.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.