Ryan Henry and Charmaine Bey
Source: VH1

'Black Ink Crew: Chicago's Ryan and Charmaine Talk Pandemic, Business, and Friendships (EXCLUSIVE)

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Oct. 4 2021, Published 7:15 p.m. ET

VH1’s hit show Black Ink Crew: Chicago is considered to be the crown jewel of the franchise. The series delivers incredible storylines and viewers can actually see the artists showcase their talent, sans drama taking precedence on the show. Since its 2015 debut, viewers have been rocking with the cast through baby mama drama, power struggles, friendship squabbles, and more.

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Ahead of the Season 7 premiere, stars Ryan Henry and Charmaine Bey spilled the tea on how the pandemic affected their businesses, 9Mag and 2nd City Ink.

In addition to sounding off about having to reinvent their business strategies, the pair spoke exclusively to Distractify about how their friendships have changed now that they're prioritizing healing and growth. Here’s the 4-1-1.

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So, how has the pandemic affected 9Mag and 2nd City Ink? Ryan and Charmaine spoke about being business owners during this troubling time.

9Mag is considered to be the mecca of tattoo shops in Chicago, and 2nd City Ink is well on its way to becoming a hot spot for ink lovers, too. Despite having a platform that allows Ryan and Charmaine to give their respective businesses major exposure, the pandemic came with its share of struggles for the Black business owners.

And this is where learning how to “not put all your eggs in one basket” became a focus for Charmaine.

“Instead of just relying on customers being able to come into the shop and get tattooed, it’s about learning how to strategize and making money in other ways,” Charmaine told Distractify. In her case, this meant focusing on the commerce side of the business, and spending time working on her other company, Bey Moss.

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As a more seasoned business owner, Ryan simply went “back to the drawing board” and took “time to restructure and fine-tune strategies.” In other words, thinking outside of the box is key to keeping a business afloat.

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Ryan and Charmaine discussed how some friendships on the show, including with Miss Kitty, are no longer the same.

Longtime Black Ink Crew: Chicago viewers are well aware that family and business was once the mantra for the cast. However, as business continues to grow and egos get in the way, friendship dynamics change.

Charmaine and Miss Kitty joined forces to help 2nd City Ink reach its full potential, but there have been some bumps in the road. Now, Miss Kitty and Charmaine have exchanged verbal blows in this season's super-trailer and they are not in a good place.

“It's really hard for me to move on with people that have done me wrong,” Charmaine told us. “I usually do not reconcile. When I do reconcile with people, it's years later, after time has gone by, and we've matured. Kit and I are definitely not at that place.”

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Plus, the trailer revealed that Ryan and Kit are also at odds, and the 35-year-old said there are “a lot of factors [regarding] why some people [who] started off as friends may not be now.”

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“This whole season is for us to get to new levels of healing and moving forward,” Ryan exclusively told Distractify. “Sometimes healing and growth doesn’t mean reconciliation. It means I'm at a new level and we were OK, but you’re not someone I need in my life anymore.”

It’s always tough to see friendships run their course, but as Charmaine said, “Everything happens for a reason.”

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Ryan addressed speaking with his former best friend, Anthony Lindsey, about having an affair with his baby mama, Nina Marie.

One of the biggest scandals surrounding Season 7 involves Ryan sleeping with his former best friend Anthony Lindsey's, baby mama, Nina Marie.

Fans and social media users alike shared their sentiments about the situation. Even though Ryan and Anthony will have a sit-down on the upcoming season, viewers should know that they “already had a conversation before.”

The entire time ... that I have been healing, [Anthony] hadn't,” Ryan recalled. “[Anthony] hadn't had different levels of closure, so he felt that he and I had never talked. He's out here feeling as if my apology back then — when it initially happened — wasn't enough, so I have gotten to a point where I can address him face to face as a man and provide a clearer apology.”

Ryan didn't want it to look like he had run away from the situation and hadn't initially spoken with Anthony, since that wasn't the case.

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Viewers are in for some revelations and drama in Season 7 of Black Ink Crew: Chicago. Tattooing will continue to be the focus on the show, with a serving of drama. Since Charmaine spilled the deets on women coming into the shop to get their vaginas tattooed, there is a chance we’ll even see some of that craziness hit the small screen.

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

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