She Wears Her Heart on Her Sleeve: The Rise of Tattoos on Women

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By Shaunda Brooks

Really, who is that girl?! I can first trace it back to the early 2000s seeing Eve’s daring paw prints upon her chest. Completely young and unaware, I thought tattoos were only for crazy Rock stars and bikers so I was very confused when I saw Eve’s wild animal prints. Although many questions were raised and a lot of people disagreed with the body art, it turned out to be her symbol, her trademark and what many identified her by.

She was one of the forerunners for black women showcasing their tattoos to the public eye.

Fashion is all about expressing yourself and in recent times, tattoos have taken over as that prime example of expression. Whether it is symbols, quotes or simply their name, celebs have taken pride in showing off their ink in any outfit that allowed it. Nowadays, if someone has a new back tattoo, they make sure to wear a low-cut dress that droops in the back just to accentuate it.

Rihanna is very well known for not just her stunning outfits but the tattoos that complement them as well. According to, she has a whopping total of 19 tattoos (at least to our knowledge…).

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Many other tatted up stars include Keyshia Cole, Zoe Saldana, Mary J. Blige and even the late, great Amy Whinehouse, who was also known for her many tattoos. Comedian Debra Wilson has almost her entire body
covered in tattoos, more notably her two totally covered sleeves with huge sunflowers, Aztec prints and many other designs that she displays by wearing sleeveless tanks.

Despite all the controversy, these women amongst others have given the trend their stamp of approval. It is so crazy to me how something that has been criticized and noted as ‘unprofessional’ for so many years is now acceptable and a popular fashion statement. I have no tattoos myself, but I do enjoy looking at the latest artwork of my favorite celebrities.

Shaunda V. Brooks is an undergraduate student at Illinois State University, seeking a Bachelors of Science degree in News Editorial Journalism. From Chicago, IL, she is heavily involved on her campus and in her community, inspiring others to do the same. Check out her organization’s website at or contact her at
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