Charmaine Bey on Her Reasons for Leaving 'Black Ink Crew: Chicago': "I Literally Have PTSD" (EXCLUSIVE)

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Apr. 21 2022, Published 9:00 a.m. ET

Most people hear the name Black Ink Crew: Chicago and think of Charmaine Bey. Sure, the franchise is all about exploring the 9Mag tattoo shop and the personal lives of the staff who work there, but Charmaine quickly set herself apart by becoming a fan favorite, alongside Katrina “Kat Tat” Jackson.

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Avid Black Ink Crew: Chicago fans may credit Charmaine’s reputation as the turn-up queen and her workplace romance with Don Brumfield with why she gets so much love, but the 32-year-old is so much more than that. Charmaine’s charisma, loyalty, and down-to-earth personality are what earned her the distinction of being one of the breakout stars of the series.

Fans of Black Ink Crew: Chicago could never imagine a season without Charmaine. However, in a March 18 Instagram post, the newly minted mother of two shared that she had quit the show. After a controversial Season 7, fans were convinced that there was more to the story. So, why did Charmaine bid Black Ink Crew: Chicago farewell? In an exclusive interview with Distractify, the entrepreneur set the record straight about the reason for her departure and what happened in her social media spat with Ryan Henry.

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Charmaine Bey left ‘Black Ink Crew: Chicago’ due to a colorism storyline.

It’s no secret that Charmaine had a rocky Season 7, but the 32-year-old leaving the show behind completely was the last thing fans expected. It turns out, there was one particular storyline that rubbed Charmaine the wrong way. In her words, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

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“My last straw was this colorism storyline that was unbeknownst to me,” Charmaine exclusively told Distractify. “In the beginning of Season 7, there was an incident between another cast member and I where I did not want her to work in my shop because she was sleeping with my friend's boyfriend.”

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Charmaine went on to share that things went left between her and the cast member at a tattoo convention, which resulted in a verbal spat between the ladies.

“They edited it out, the cast member initially coming in and being combative and confrontational,” Charmaine told us. “They kept her talking calmly. But my response to her verbal attacks in real life, was you know, ‘If you want to act all ghetto fabulous, go do that elsewhere. Don't do that in front of my booth at the convention.' So, they kept footage of me calling her ghetto fabulous.”

Charmaine later learned that the cast member was pushing a colorism storyline that attempted to paint the 32-year-old as colorist. Charmaine also saw the cast member crying about "protecting Black women and explaining what colorism [was] in an interview soundbite." So after seeing how the incident played out on the show, Charmaine washed her hands of Black Ink Crew: Chicago.

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“No matter if it was her idea or if it was Viacom’s idea, I don't care whose idea it was... That wasn't cool,” Charmaine shared. “It was an obvious target on my back and the way they edited it was so wild compared to how it really happened. And it made me look very bad. I literally have PTSD.”

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Charmaine made it a point to share how grateful she is for the opportunity to have been on Black Ink Crew: Chicago, but, she said, it was time for her to leave the show.

“I was so hurt about it,” Charmaine told us. “That was very hurtful for them to try to shine me in that light. I could cry about it right now.”

Charmaine says that she has no beef with Ryan Henry.

Following Charmaine’s announcement about quitting Black Ink Crew: Chicago, the entrepreneur also had some words for Ryan Henry. In a March 23, 2022 Instagram post, Charmaine called out Ryan for allegedly speaking badly about her.

Charmaine shared that she’s not currently at odds with Ryan and although she loves him dearly, it was important for her to address the situation.

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“I absolutely love Ryan, for the person that I know he can be,” Charmaine told Distractify. “Sometimes [Ryan] wears his emotions on his sleeve and lets everybody see his cards. And some of those cards got back to me about how he would react or, like, things he would say about me and the way he would do it. I was so fed up.”

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The entrepreneur shared that she never commented on what Ryan was allegedly saying. However, once it came to light that Charmaine was quitting, “people were trolling Ryan and commenting '2nd City Ink' everywhere on his page.” After someone left a comment saying, “2nd City Ink is fire,” and Ryan responded with “sike,” Charmaine took it as a personal dig.

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“Now my thing is, you don't have to say anything at all,” Charmaine told us. “I'm not even on your show anymore. So we're not going to do that. And then other people were coming to me and telling me things.”

As of now, both Charmaine and Ryan have hashed out their issues and put the situation behind them. However, Charmaine shared that she’ll be keeping her Instagram post up about Ryan “because I don't want him to forget to play with me no more.”

Even though Charmaine is done with Black Ink Crew: Chicago, fans can still keep up with the entrepreneur. Not only does Charmaine work as a radio host on WGCI, but she also launched the show Talks & Tattoos on her YouTube channel, which shines a light on her artists at 2nd City Ink and showcases intriguing conversations with celebrity clients.

Fans will definitely miss Charmaine on the small screen, but the reality star is committed to keeping her own happiness at the forefront.

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