The Surprising Legal Battle That Sparked Black Ink’s Expansion — Exclusive

“Black Ink Crew New York” is back for its ninth season, and fans can expect some serious drama from the hit VH1 show. As well as dealing with the pandemic, Black Ink’s Ceaser Emanuel has been fighting a legal battle that will change the face of his company forever. 

Having closed the original Black Ink tattoo studio, 113th in Harlem, Emanuel has been looking for the positives in saying goodbye to such an important part of his history. “Like I’m not going to lie, 113th was, I didn’t realize it, but 113th was like my ball and chain,” he told Nicki Swift. “It always kept me in one position, in one spot and I think releasing it and letting it go, it freed me up.” As a result, Emanuel is moving on and taking Black Ink to even more places across the United States. “I just opened up in Houston. I’m about to open up Milwaukee. I’m working on Dallas,” Emanuel revealed.

The move wasn’t without obstacles, though. The “Black Ink Crew New York” stalwart caught up with Nicki Swift and explained the surprising legal battle that sparked Black Ink’s expansion.

Ceaser Emanuel was forced to make a difficult decision

Earlier this year, Ceaser Emanuel revealed that his original tattoo studio, 113th in Harlem, had been forced to close. It was the end of an era for the “Black Ink Crew New York” star, but Emanuel felt as though there was no choice but to close up shop. “Because in New York, there’s no renting law, the landlords could basically put whatever rent they feel is justified. Not what is around the community, what’s it like. None of that,” he explained to Nicki Swift. “And for me to go from $5,000 a month to $25,000 a month for rent, it was just, especially for that area, it just was ridiculous.”

Emanuel took the difficult decision to close the original Black Ink but has since found himself engaged in a legal battle. “I just had a slumlord that was basically just trying to get over. And to this day, he’s still trying to get over. I gave up the property. He’s trying to sue me, bring me back to court saying I didn’t surrender it,” Emanuel said. “I was just dealing with a slumlord. I’m just happy that I’m out of that situation.”

Emanuel has been firmly focused on the future following the closure of 113th — and with the launch of “Black Ink Crew New York” Season 9, he doesn’t have any time to slow down. 

You can catch all of the drama on “Black Ink Crew: New York Season 9” on Monday nights on VH1.

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