February 6, 2023

SAND SPRINGS — Half a dozen years ago, tattoo artist Jamy Magee got tired of seeing so much vitriol on social media.

But “instead of going to Facebook, instead of going to Instagram and Twitter and sharing my worthless opinion with everyone else,” he thought, “what can I do to actually make the world a better place?”

“And that’s where that came from.”

This is the Stop the Hate in the 918 event, featuring tattoo artists from across Oklahoma covering gang, hate and race tattoos for a free day.

Magee said the first event was so popular that a line snaked down the street early and seemed never-ending. He worked until 4am before he was done, exhausted and swearing he would never do anything like it again.

“It was awful,” he said. “I mean it was great for her, but for me it’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

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Not long after that, Magee went to the Tulsa State Fair and was standing in line to buy corn on the cob when a woman “grabbed” him. She “just cried,” he said.

“She told me how I had changed her husband’s life. The kids don’t see him as the monster he used to be and he got a raise at his job and all that other stuff.

“It was at that moment that it dawned on me, ‘This is not something we can give up. We have to keep going,'” Magee said. “If I can give a tag and have that kind of impact on just one person’s life, how can you stop it?”

Apparently you can’t. At least Magee can’t.

Stop the Hate in the 918, now in its sixth year, is scheduled for Tuesday, February 21 from noon to 8 p.m. This is the first year the event will be held at the Case Community Center, 1050 W. Wekiwa Road in Sand Springs.

However, Magee, who owns the Parlor Hair & Ink in Sand Springs, will not be working alone. This year he’ll be joined by more tattoo artists than ever before, including The Parlor’s Dustin Clark, as well as Jennifer “Tootie” Woods, Scott Wilson, Dennis Tucker and Josh Deeds.

“We’re really super excited because, honestly, we have some of the best tattoo artists in Oklahoma to help us,” Magee said. “I’m really excited about that.”

He’s also a bit surprised because not only are these artists working a day for free, they’re missing out on a day’s business for themselves.

“We’re just a small shop, so we decided to ask our friends for help,” he said. “There is a lot more need for this type of event than I thought. So we are happy to be able to offer that.”

As busy as the first year was, the event has grown almost every year, Magee said.

“We see a lot of different reasons people come, but in general there are just a few main reasons,” he said. “A lot of these people were either in jail or in a gang, … and now they’re not in jail or in a gang, and they just don’t care about that life anymore. You need a change.

“A lot of these people … they have this past life. They went to prison; They got what they got and then they got out,” he said. “And they got a job. You corrected your life. They got married. They have children, and now the wife is not particularly happy that the children see a portrait of Hitler (or) a swastika.”

And correcting that mistake can be very expensive, Magee said, adding that some of the work he and his fellow artists will do at the Stop the Hate event would cost several hundred dollars when it comes to getting paid.

Among the tattoos featured at the event, swastikas have been common since the beginning, but Confederate flags are a newer target, he said.

“Literally not that long ago, nobody cared,” Magee said. It wasn’t a topic of conversation. But now that it has become so, people want them covered.

“As times change, so do needs.”

Magee said another group of people who tend to show up at the event are those who can’t get jobs because their ink has been linked to criminal elements.

For example, he said, the “Beilmann” is a popular but often banned tattoo.

Fans of the hardcore hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse — known as Juggalos — often sport the mascot of the band and the group’s record label, Psychopathic Records, as clothing, jewelry, or tattoos.

But Juggalo gangs also carry the images, and as a result, Juggalos have been classified as a criminal street gang by the FBI, the National Gang Intelligence Center and several states, reports show.

Whether a tattoo is historically associated with hatred or perhaps newly associated with criminal endeavors, if a person wants it gone, Magee wants to help.

“Ultimately what we’re trying to do is help these people who have things that are either considered racist now that maybe weren’t 10 years ago, or maybe they’re 100% racist and just did it at a time when they needed it to survive – jail and stuff,” he said.

As for the event itself, Magee no longer calls it the stupidest thing he’s ever done.

“It’s gotten a lot better. We’ve made some adjustments so it’s running much smoother now,” he said.

This includes knowing what tattoos to expect.

“You’ll get a bunch of hatchet men; You’re going to get a bunch of swastikas, and you’re going to get a bunch of Confederate flags,” he said. “Without a shadow of a doubt you will see these things.”

He also knows that he will end the day poorer than he started it.

“We don’t do plug nickels,” he said. “In fact, we’re probably going into the hole pretty hard. But that’s okay. It’s one day in the year.”

However, there is a kind of hate Magee won’t cover up for nothing.

“Just because you hate your ex-wife doesn’t make it a hate tattoo,” he said.

Video from 2017: covering hate and gang tattoos

The Parlor Hair and Ink in Sand Springs reported gang and hate tattoos for free on Tuesday.


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