Black Ink Crew wasted no time picking up where the drama left off last season with the continuation of O’S**t’s legal troubles. But it’s been the dissolution of so many formerly tight-knit relationships that has shocked us the most. After a long tenure and one big blowout, Puma left Black Ink for good, and the condition of his friendship with Ceaser is currently up in the air. VH1 got a visit from everyone’s favorite PR man, who gave us his side of the shop fight, as well as what he’s up to now.
To find out what Puma thinks about the drama inside and outside of Black Ink, as well as the business mantras he holds dear, read our interview below.
Had you previously thought about leaving Black Ink, or was the decision a result of your argument with Ceaser in Episode 1?
It was a thought before, because at the end of the day, I had my clothing brand (IUFO Clothing) that I really wanted to focus on anyway, and I was doing radio, too–just really wanted to focus on my brand. So I really was going to make that power move sooner or later.
Looking back on that episode, do you still feel like you weren’t in the wrong by having people over at the shop?
Not at all, because take what Dutchess said: “If you’re not an asset, you’re a liability.” They kicked out assets. If you listen to people’s words, I don’t feel bad at all. I was doing my part.
Have you heard any negative reactions from fans since Episode 1 aired?
No, because at the end of the day a lot of people who know the situation see what it is and also know that I have a daughter and I have to make sure I provide [for her]. People know you can’t just be sitting around thumb-twiddling, you gotta make a power move.
What do you think about how Sassy was treated by Dutchess and the rest of the shop before she quit?
I think it’s disgusting and I actually hated that a lot. You can mess with me, but when you mess with my little sis I feel even worse. So it makes the power move that we’re making now 10 times better. It feels good.
In the episode, Dutchess’s decision to spread a rumor that Sassy and Teddy hooked up seemed to happen because of an unflattering Instagram photo or comment.
The funny thing is when I saw that on the episode, I went on Twitter and I told everyone to go to Sassy’s Instagram and please find something [controversial], and nobody could find anything.
Has social media gotten you into trouble at all?
The thing about social media is it can either hurt you or help you. It can help you because you’re promoting yourself and your business to a large spectrum of people. The way it can hurt you is if you do something messed up or f–ked up, a large spectrum of people will have opinions and then you have to deal with that. It’s a little much; you’re dealing with a lot of people’s opinions and a lot of people know how to word their opinions quite well.
Do you feel like you’re different than Ceaser when it comes to being a businessman?
Yes, I’m totally different than Ceaser at being a businessman. I’m more open-minded, and open to new ideas. I’m more free-spirited–some people might not like my way of doing things but I feel like it works. Just being open to new concepts and ideas, and just being open to just trying things, you know what I mean? You gotta try stuff! You gotta be try new things because times are changing. It’s all about the youth.
Do you think the problems you encountered with Ceaser are between the two of your, or do you have problems with him because of his relationship with Dutchess?
A little bit of both–maybe she’s an influence. He feels like it’s him, but even people who watch the show are saying that they don’t understand, like, “that doesn’t make sense to me that he fired you!” So if people are going to tell you that, there must be another influence there.
The moods in Season 1 and Season 2 are so different, and the change feels really drastic.
It’s so different. I kinda hate that, because we were close-knit, but now it’s just about rebuilding that [bond]. Do we rebuild that together or is everybody about to go elsewhere and find that family love? It’s kind of crazy.
Looking back, would you say deciding to be on Black Ink Crew was a good decision?
Yeah, it was an opportunity. Just to be able to travel and meet a lot of new people and give people a different outlook on the urban tattoo community–understanding that people have real, human emotions and they really go through real life situations. Just to be able to display that, I think it’s [been] dope.
Did you foresee any potential drama or conflict when you signed up?
I personally did. I just thought that you don’t mix business with pleasure, and now it’s all unfolding now in front of everybody’s eyes… proving my point.
Did you talk to Ceaser after you walked out of the shop?
You have to watch and see. We do have one conversation that wasn’t a good one. Hopefully we do become friends again, I don’t even know.
Are you currently talking to people at Black Ink?
I talk to Teddy all the time. We make Twitter jokes together all day. I was just at Walter’s baby shower–he’s about to have a child–and I talked O’S**t the other day, too. He’s about to do a big power move in life, too. I can’t talk about it–I’m going to keep that one a secret but it was a very crazy conversation yesterday and I’m proud of him, but I’m still nervous for him because he’s still going through his trial. It’s not all great, but, you know, life.
You don’t talk to Dutchess, I’m guessing?
I haven’t spoken to her in a while, but you gotta keep watching to see what happens.
Catch an all-new episode of Black Ink Crew tonight at 9:30 pm ET/PT.