Ceaser Emanuel has always been a hustler. The star of Black Ink Crew and owner of Harlem’s Black Ink looking to expand his resume even further with the release of his latest project: Black Ink magazine.
The urban lifestyle mag combines some of his biggest passions (art, hip-hop) with his professional experience (graphic design) and aims to give readers a more complete look at urban culture. Black Ink’s first issue hits newsstands nationwide today, and you’ll find some old friends on the cover. VH1 spoke with Ceaser about what to expect from the bi-monthly magazine (hint: Erica Mena and other familiar faces) released in partnership with I’adore, as well as his dream cover model. Read on for more info.
VH1: How did the idea for a magazine come about? Has this been something you’ve always wanted to do?
Actually it was an idea I had for a minute. I always thought about having an urban tattoo magazine, but I wanted it to be more of a lifestyle [magazine]–more of how tattoos just link everything together, from hip-hop to fashion to video vixens. Like, everybody’s gotta understand that tattoos are universal and connect people. So I wanted to show not only black and white but the whole spectrum of the tattoo realm.
What magazines do you read?
I was really a big fan of magazines like The Source, XXL and then the tattoo magazines because I kind of live both lifestyles: a hip-hop lifestyle and the art lifestyle. So I’m trying to combine all of that in one magazine for people like me, who try to stay cultured and fashionable.
Has it been difficult to jump into a new field?
It’s a whole different piece, but since I hopped into something that I loved already–I was already working in the magazine and graphic design field before I started tattooing–going back to that is just second nature for me.
If you could have one person on your cover, who would it be?
It would be a tattoo artist that I admire, Filip Leu. He was brought up in the tattoo industry; his father was a great tattoo artist. He’s been tattooing since he was 13 years old and he’s such a hard worker. Even though he got to the stage he’s at right now, he’s still pushing himself and he’s still a hard worker. You can’t go to Switzerland without trying to get a tattoo from this guy. He owns the whole country. That’s so dope! And he’s such a humble guy, it’s like, I would like to be like him one day.
What kind of editorial content are you planning to have?
The articles are going to cover everything from tattoos to sneaker reviews to hip-hop reviews. We’re going to have the whole genre, but we’re not going to oversaturate it. We’re basically going to keep it in the hip-hop field. We’re going to have interviews with rap artists–we have Jadakiss, we have Meek [Mill, in the second and third issue]. The first issue is just about Black Ink Crew.
What’s your favorite pair of sneakers in your closet?
My favorite pair? I gotta say my Jordan 3s, my black and red pair.
What sneakers do people need to get in 2014?
They gotta definitely get on to the Kobes. The Jordans, you know Jordans, they’re classic; he’s always coming out with new sneakers. The Kobes and the Kevin Durants, those are some must-get sneakers. LeBron’s–he’s always staying ahead of the game, and he surprises me with some of his color ways. I’d definitely mess with them. But right now? I’m definitely messing with most of the line of Nike.
All I can tell people right now is that at Black Ink we’re a dysfunctional family, but we’re still a family like any family. Things get messy, but it always repairs itself with time.
How was this season different from Season 1?
Season 1 we had a lot more fun, Season 2 we were bickering and fighting a lot more and not seeing eye-to-eye.
Do you have any regrets?
No, I don’t have regrets. I’m happy that people get to see not just the positive but the negative side. I don’t want people to think that we’re fake–we’re normal people. We ain’t perfect, but I want people to know that we’re still human at the end of the day.
Black Ink magazine is on newsstands now.
[Photo Credit: Black Ink Magazine]