It’s a lot happening during this season of Black Ink Crew: Chicago and the most intense storylines center around Ryan Henry’s road to redemption and Charmaine Bey’s strength in an unimaginable time of grief. For both, they want their stories to serve as inspiration to viewers to keep pushing, no matter what the circumstances are.
Henry was caught in a huge scandal off-season when his former BFF shared with the world that he discovered Henry and his child’s mother were romantically involved. According to the woman, Henry was an escape from an alleged abusive relationship, but social media users didn’t care. They accused Henry of breaking code by sleeping with his best friend’s ex. Now, Henry wants to right his wrongs, and his contentious sit down with his former friend played out on the show.
“What you’re going to see this season is me addressing more of the ways that I’ve gone and used therapy and self-reflection to better myself and to grow myself into a version that I’ve always seen and always wanted to apply,” he tells Shadow and Act. “[These things] have previously altered and hindered me previously but now you’ll see me applying things and being, hopefully, growing from it and explaining the growth form it and not just talking about it but putting it into action...into any and everything that I’m doing.”
He admits that despite him taking accountability for his actions, not everyone is convinced he’s changed and that certain relationships remain strained. “Some people were and some people weren’t (supportive),” he says. “That was in every aspect: family, friends, and the public. Everyone was entitled to their opinion, I understood it and the people who walked away, I couldn’t blame them. And the people who stuck by my side and understood more about it...I appreciate that because it helped me get through it and get past it.”
One person who has remained by Henry’s side is Bey. She tells Shadow and Act that in spite of his flaws, he is worth another shot. “I felt really bad for Ryan because I know him, obviously personally, and I know that none of us are perfect,” she says. “It really sucks that things end up going to the media and you end up figuring out how to tell your side. And just to see how social media has been eating him up about it...Ryan can’t post anything on his social media without someone saying they don’t trust him…”
It’s difficult to imagine how Bey has found the time to be a confidant to Henry when she’s dealing with her own trauma. She revealed over the summer that her beloved father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Within months, he’d died of the disease. His death comes not even two years after the death of her beloved mother.
She’s also experiencing a similar fate, as she was pregnant with her daughter Nola when her mother passed. She’s now expecting baby girl number 2 while grieving her father’s passing. She credits her husband Nik for being her source of strength.
“It’s been amazing, I couldn’t do it without Nil’s support. I am so grateful, I tell him every day how grateful I am that God chose him to be my husband and he and my kids, our little family mean more to me than anything that I have going on in my life,” she gushes.
In spite of the downs, there’s a lot both Henry and Bey have to look forward to. Bey takes back the reigns as queen of her tattoo shop, 2nd City Ink. Viewers will see her boss up even more amid her personal battles and expand her business profile. For Henry, he continues managing 9Mag and has dreams of expansion as well.
Check out the full interview below with Henry and Bey where they discuss using their platforms for the greater good: