• Camille Davis

Black Ink Crew: Compton's Nessie Blaze Recommends You "Activate Your Hustle"

Updated: Jan 29

Mixed chicks have it rough too. They're more than their, what society has deemed as "pretty hair;" and many struggle with finding exactly where within "the culture" they lie.

Growing up black-and-white to Nessie, "set her apart." While she had her fair share of growing pains, rather than attempt to fit in with a particular side, she knew "right from the gate," that she didnt feel the need to conform to one side or the other. She says, "I feel like I have a fair understanding of both sides of growing up black and growing up white." She learned early on not to let the ignorance of others hinder her growth; many of us aren't that lucky or confident.

She didn't put limits on herself then, and definitely doesn't now. One finds true peace when they realize life isn't about who people expect you go be, but rather who you want to be; and peace, despite it all, is what Nessie Blaze projects.

Girl Boss Nessie Blaze hails from Bristol, Pennsylvania (the suburbs of Philly), and was introduced to the mainstream through the Black Ink Crew's latest installment, Black Ink Crew: Compton.

Nessie; however, isn't new to the scene. She's an all-around creative; gifted in tattoo and visual artistry (painting), in addition to music. All of which is displayed on Compton's first season.

Through the show, Nessie contributes to the collective... ink, art, music; however, she has a greater purpose in mind.

Nessie is putting on for the Culture. When she moved to Cali in 2013, with only $300 in her pocket to chase her dreams, she took the biggest bet... on herself! She was down to her last, and had to make moves. Fast.

Looking for a success story? The definition of grind? An example of someone who accomplished and still accomplishing everything they put their mind to? Look no further.

Nessie is using her platform to inspire. Whether encouraging the next generation of visual artists and performers to "live on their own terms and to not be defined by what the industry standard is," or other young women to get out and activate their hustle, she's challenging us all to see how far we can go with unceasing hardwork and persistence. She says, "Activating your hustle means finding the best way to control your destiny at all costs."

Introduced to tattooing at the age of 22 by her Uncle Todd, Nessie says, I decided that I wanted to monetize my talent. Drawings were hard to sell. I saw the potential I had and I took it and ran with it." She hopes that can be a testament to other women on being resilient. She says, "you know, I’m not perfect... none of us are. But I like to set the example for people to know that women with flaws still make it big. Women who have failed before, can still succeed. And we as women deserve and can achieve anything we want when we believe and put the work in!

In so many ways, they make you stronger. She continues, "Mistakes are inevitable... It’s learning from them that creates success to begin with. I see see this all the time; the people who fail and fail and fail and then succeed know how to bounce back way harder than someone who gets it right the first time." The 'pressure makes diamonds' phrase may seem cliche, but to Nessie "creating long-term success requires overcoming obstacles and knowing how to handle things when they don’t go as planned. You don’t go into a panic... you do what you have to do."

Making strides in reality television and also in their direct community, the entire Compton cast demonstrates triumph over adversity. The crew is not only running the first tattoo shop in Compton, but also "focused on becoming better," as Nessie says. "There’s no ceiling for us. When you put a bunch of determined people in one room, there is no choice but to inspire each other. It's really a hussle and motivate situation."

While every reality show has their fair share of drama, the Compton crew has big shoes to fill.

The Marathon continues, in Compton is particular, as residents and natives were inspires by the great works of the fallen Nipsey Hussle. A tribute to the rapper is a major focus on the very first episode of Black Ink Crew: Compton; while the crew makes it apparent that they along with each and every other person in the culture has an individual responsibility to "step up and be our own examples."

Nessie encourages us to reflect on Nip's memory and listen deeply to his music, which "is filled with reminders too." She says, "it just means we gotta start doing what we have to do; keep working on yourself and finding and fulfilling your purpose." Being from the bottom isn't an excuse not to become great; it's actually what inspires her. She says, "They represent the fact that you can't make excuses for yourself." If you can come from the bottom, and still "do great things," as Nessie says, "you have the power to change the world."

All-in-all, it is probable that Nessie's racial divide may have been the first of many plights she'd overcome, but it's because of that adversity she learned to "work hard, stay focused, and stand your ground! Life is gonna test you... you have to keep pushing through!"

Nessie and the rest of the Black Ink Crew: Compton break through a ton of layers and barriers this season. Tune in and watch their hardships and growth on Wednesday nights at 10/9c on VH1. More on Nessie Blaze's artistry can be found by following her social media pages; instagram @nessie_blaze, in particular.

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