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Tattoo artist refuses black man who asked to see black client’s work

A TikToker says a tattoo artist refused to work with him after asking to see examples of his work on dark skin.

In the video posted Tuesday by TikToker Dlo (@dlo_o), he says he was looking for a tattoo artist in Florida and reached out to Jose Needles on Instagram after admiring his tattoo style but realizing he didn’t have any Sample pictures got from black customers.

He shows a screenshot of an Instagram direct message thread between himself and the artist, in which he asks, “Do you have any pictures of your work on dark skin?”

On the screenshot, Needles replies, “Yes, I do, but just being asked by you really takes away all desire to work with you, my friend!”

In the clip, Dlo asks, “Help me understand this, everyone. am I tripping? Did I say something offensive? Or am I the victim?”

@dlo_o Am I trippinn?? #tattoo #tattooartist #racism #discrimination ♬ Mr. Morale – Kendrick Lamar & Tanna Leone

The video has been viewed over 654,000 times as of Wednesday, with viewers flocking to Needle’s Instagram page to smack him for his response to Dlo.

“So you don’t generally work on darker skin tones?” asked one user.

“As an artist, it’s your choice who you tattoo and who you don’t tattoo, no matter what the reaction, but I think it was more your reaction that got people upset!” another wrote.

In a follow-up video, Dlo shares another message from Needles stating, “Most of my actual canvases are dark skin tones. Sorry man I understand you need to ask your potential artist but you are not a potential canvas for me. Sorry you misunderstood. I am not offended’. I’m just not interested in working with you.”

@dlo_o replying to @fabricevalentin Why was Jose pushing like that if he’s not doing anything wrong? #tattoo #tattooartist #part2 ♬ Original sound – Twin

Dlo also claims that Needles “deletes comments” on his page to avoid criticism and that he has been blocked. Needles’ Instagram page has since been made private.

In an Instagram Story on Tuesday, Jose Needles shows an example of his “working on dark skin” in response to criticism, but some commenters on TikTok say the client was just “tan” and has “medium skin.”

“He has a caramel colored arm in his story where he talks about ‘my work on canvases with dark skin,'” wrote one commenter.

“Nahhh what got me is how he tries to work ‘dark skin’ on his story afterwards and people don’t even have dark skin,” said another.

Others called out his statement that “most of [his] Actual canvases have dark skin tones,” noting that in this case he intentionally doesn’t include them in his public portfolio.

“He understands why you need to ask, but he won’t work on you because you asked?? He works primarily with dark skin tones but only posts light skin tones?” one user commented.

“I went to his page and he posts black people on his stories. Why not on the main page?! No question would have been asked,” wrote another.

“So most of his canvases are dark skin, but they’re absent from his page, which essentially acts as his portfolio but then doesn’t show real dark skin,” added a third.

In a comment on his Instagram page, Needles wrote that he turned down Dlo as a client because he “[does] do not respond to requests via DM.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Dlo via TikTok comment and Jose Needles via email to comment on this story.


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*Initial publication: June 1, 2022 at 4:15 p.m. CDT

Rebekah Harding

Rebekah Harding is a freelance reporter for the Daily Dot. She has digital and print bylines in Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, SheKnows and more.

Rebekah Harding

https://www.dailydot.com/irl/racist-tattoo-artist/ Tattoo artist refuses black man who asked to see black client’s work

Jaclyn Diaz

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