'Black Ink Crew: Chicago's' Ryan Henry on Mental Health: "The Season Is Based on Growth" (EXCLUSIVE)

Tatayana Yomary - Author

Aug. 9 2022, Published 10:28 a.m. ET

After an eight-month break, VH1’s hit series Black Ink Crew: Chicago is making its way back to the small screen. The fan-favorite franchise is known for providing viewers with the ultimate balance of tattoo artistry and drama. And of course, Season 7B is picking up right where we left off with Ryan Henry’s plans for expanding the 9Mag brand and focusing on bettering himself and others.

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Ahead of the Season 7B premiere, Ryan sat down with Distractify to discuss what’s to come this season, the results of his therapy journey, and his stance on former friendships. Keep reading to get the full scoop.

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Season 7B will explore Ryan Henry's mental health journey.

Therapy and mental health have long been stigmatized in the Black community. However, Ryan was very open about his therapy journey throughout Season 7A after going through his share of trauma.

Although everyone had opinions about Ryan’s journey in light of his issues with his former best friend Anthony, Ryan continued to be vulnerable. As a result, it made day one Black Ink Crew: Chicago fans have greater respect for the businessman.

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So, what has come from Ryan’s therapy journey? The 36-year-old says that everyone will be able to see the “residuals and after effects” of the work he’s done.

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“A lot of the season is based on growth,” Ryan exclusively told Distractify. “A big portion of that is about the type of person I’ve become, in part due to that. I think what people normally get from the beginning of it is like, ‘Hey, go to therapy, go to therapy,' but not the result of the type of person you become or where the journey leads.’”

And judging by the trailer for Season 7B, Ryan is all about putting his sole focus on his businesses and elevating those around him.

Although Ryan Henry’s friendships with Charmaine Bey and Van Johnson are no longer the same, the businessman prefers to take the high road and avoid drama.

There’s almost nothing worse than having a friendship dissolve on reality TV. Fans of the Chicago franchise know that Ryan was once close with both Charmaine Bey and Van Johnson. However, things changed over time.

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Even though Charmaine and Ryan had their ups and downs, the love between them was always apparent. Ryan was also super-supportive of Charmaine after the loss of both her mother and father. Interestingly, before Season 7B, Charmaine took to social media to call out Ryan for allegedly bad-mouthing her.

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Ryan made it a point to shoot down the chatter on social media and shared that he has no issues with Charmaine. However, Episode 1 of Season 7B not only shows Charmaine distancing herself from the cast but also taking a step back from the show.

Despite the rollercoaster of a friendship between Ryan and Charmaine, the 36-year-old remains supportive of her decision. But, partaking in the drama is a no-no.

“We've had a past,” Ryan told us. “We were friends and I love and care for her so I'm going to just continue to support and whatever decision she chooses to make. Anything that will become slanderous from the outside, I won’t pay attention to it. Her ultimate choice is to take a step back and take care of her family, and we can’t fault anybody for doing that.”

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As for the current status of Ryan's friendship with Van, things are a bit different. Many viewers remember Ryan and Van having a fallout on the show, but of course, there is more to the story. However, Ryan shares that it’s not something that was meant to be a “charade show.” So, it’s safe to say that the truth of the matter will remain private.

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“It’s not meant to be made a scene or mockery of for entertainment,” Ryan shared. “I’m a man, I’m going to take my lick and keep ticking. I'd rather just remove myself from a personal situation and handle what I got to handle. ​​We’re apart, we're two different people. I got my stuff going on and he got what he has going on.”

Focus is the name of the game and that appears to be all Ryan is interested in — expanding 9Mag and continuing to give back to the community.

Catch new episodes of Black Ink Crew: Chicago Tuesdays at 8 p.m. EST on VH1.

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