If you are reading this blog, you sure are a lover of the arts… And I surely feed your mind with every and anything that is related to the creative arts. Today, a headline caught my attention which made me beg the question – When does a tattoo transcend beyond art and become a factor of judgmental stereotyping? –> Well, when you see a headline like this ‘HIP HOP ARTIST WITH TATTOOS ON HIS FACE KICKED OFF FLIGHT BY ALASKAN AIRLINES’, you sure want to read the full story but here’s a little paraphrased insight into the origin of tattoos culled from CoolQuiz
Whether they are on arms, legs, ankles or buttocks, tattoos are body decorations on bodies and a popular fad among many people.The word, tattoo originates from the Tahitian word tattau, which means “to mark” and was first mentioned in explorer James Cook’s records from his 1769 expedition to the South Pacific. However, some scientists believe that the earliest known evidence of tattooing dates back to markings found on the skin of the Iceman, a mummified human body that dates as far back as 3300 B.C.
Tattooing was rediscovered by Europeans when they came into contact with Polynesians and American Indians through their explorations. Because tattoos were considered so exotic in European and U.S. societies, tattooed Indians and Polynesians amazed crowds at circuses and fairs during the 18th and 19th centuries.
The practice of tattooing has different meanings to various cultures. Decoration was the most common motive for tattooing and that still holds true today. In some cultures, tattoos served as identification of the wearer’s rank or status within a group. For instance, the early Romans tattooed slaves and criminals. Tahitian tattoos served as rites of passage, telling the history of the wearer’s life.
Back to the original story which caught my attention:
On July 14, 2013, Hip Hop artist and DJ – Michael Flowers aka ‘mikeflo’ was traveling from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon on Alaska Airlines for a performance when he was removed from his flight because the flight attendant was uncomfortable with the tattoos on his face. Mr. Flowers, co-founder of the socially conscious hip hop duo Dead Prez, booked his flight with Alaska Airlines, a Delta Air Lines Inc. partner, and travels internationally performing with Dead Prez as an independent artist and DJ.After boarding the plane, securing his carry on, and saying hello to an unaccompanied child seated next to him, the flight attendant came over to the child and said, “I don’t trust the guy with the tattoos so I am going to move your seat.”
Not long after, the flight attendant moved the minor child and placed an adult next to Mr. Flowers. Within minutes, Mr. Flowers was then told by another employee of Alaska Airlines to gather his belongings and exit the aircraft. The only explanation given for his removal from the flight was that the flight attendant did not feel comfortable that he would comply with FAA rules.
Mr. Flowers was not allowed back on the flight and consequently missed the sound check for the performance.
“I was stunned and humiliated. I am a platinum medallion member with Delta and I fly thousands of miles a year. I feel like they violated my freedom of expression. “ – Mike Flowers aka mikeflo
“Mr. Flowers has religious and cultural tattoos on his face as an expression of his spiritual beliefs. We are investigating the incident and considering all legal options.” – says Attorney Mawuli Mel Davis, Davis Bozeman Law Firm. The case is being currently visited and mikeflo is using social media to bring attention to it. Twitter hashtag is #itsartnotacrime. Voice your thoughts in the comment section below and/or also leave your thoughts at https://www.alaskaair.com/feedback
Are tattoos negatively stereotyped in the United States? Here are thoughts and the overwhelming answer to this debate at this link .
It should be an ‘Ubuntu’ world after all…
Beautifully Dreaming, Positively Doing…