Selected Film:

Beneath the Ink

Selected Film:

Beneath the Ink

Why We Chose This Film

Thoughts, ideas, and things to consider about this film...


Beneath the Ink is a documentary film about what happens when a tattoo parlor in Ohio offers to cover up tattoo-ed hate symbols for free. Inviting in those who want to redeem their past, Billy Joe White allows these customers to bury an ugly past and/or a bad decision with no judgment nor fee.

Beneath the Ink is a timely look at racism, but here we see another side to the people wearing the tattoos. We meet those looking for forgiveness and second chances; people who have felt isolated and guilty by what they chose to put on their bodies. Billy, by using his talent in a creative and meaningful way, is literally erasing hate and helping those in his community to heal.  

As you watched the film, did you experience any judgement towards those getting Billy’s help? Can you imagine what it would be like to NOT have those negative assessments? If so, what would it take to achieve that? Are there things in your own life for which you are working on forgiving yourself?  Share your thoughts in the comments below. 

To go even deeper, you can try the creative exercises we’ve developed for you.

About the Filmmaker

Cy Dodson has been in the storytelling business for over two decades and Beneath the Ink is his third film in five years.  He contacted Billy about the possibility of making a documentary on his mission at the tattoo parlor and over the course of a weekend they filmed what would become Beneath the Ink. It has screened in 40 festivals worldwide and has won 20 festival awards to date as well as qualifying for the 2019 Academy Awards.

Dive Even Deeper

Try the following to connect further with the film’s story…

Create your very own symbol of harmony and peace.

  • Doodle with a black pen on white paper while thinking about the people that you love and respect the most and the communities where you’ve felt welcomed and appreciated. The idea is to occupy your mind with these memories while allowing your hand to move freely with the pen around the page.
  • Now start a new page of doodling while listening to some soothing and inspiring music.
  • Once you have two pages of doodling, pay attention to the shapes and lines that you have drawn. Is there a portion or section within your drawings that you find particularly appealing? Try to redraw and isolate a pleasing design.
  • Once you have found your design, draw it on yourself as a temporary tattoo or post on a wall where you can see it regularly.

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Tell Us Your Thoughts and Join The Conversation


  1. Anonymous

    What an Amazing Story! I mean what this man is doing is literally life changing & he is definitely making his mark as well as a difference on this world one person, who belongs to a family, who belongs to a community at a time! Bravo!!

    • Kat Andrews

      I’m just learning about this project-
      This was my first film- I was so moved by the generosity and insight of the tattoo artist
      is incredible and the decisions of the recipients are also inspiring and hopeful.
      Great video!
      K. Andrews

  2. MaryAnn Toboz

    Inspiring story and project. Thank you for your good work.

  3. Carol A Starmack

    What an amazing and inspirational man doing such good. Thank you for sharing this and giving hope for a better world. For our better world.

  4. Vicki Bowser

    What a great guy. He is helping so many people and himself.

  5. Kathy

    Amazing.. felt this and its refreshing to see someone want to make a difference with tattoos.

  6. catherine divich

    Inspirational, and heartfelt generosity to make someone’s life a huge difference!

  7. Anonymous

    loved this

  8. Anonymous

    What an awesome guy. Very inspirational. This is a man that can change a lot of lives for people who regret a moment in time.

  9. Sassy

    what a beautiful story thank you for sharing.

  10. Anonymous

    What a beautiful heart this guy has. This film gave me a whole new perspective on tattoo artists. Thank you for creating this!

  11. Anonymous

    Great. loved it!

  12. Joseph Steinhoff

    All of us need second chances in some way. This is a beautiful story.

  13. Saoudy A. Saoudy

    Correcting bad history.. tattoos can be corrected. I wish we can correct our old bad behavior that nobody can forget.

  14. Anonymous

    Life is a journey of growth and change, and it is heartening to see someone using the lessons he has learned from his own tattoos to help others progress beyond the limitations of their past decisions. There is always the chance to change and others who will help us in that process.

  15. Anonymous

    One person can make a difference. Also the power to make a positive change is within each one of us, and it begins with a thought and one step. We all go through difficult times and cope differently based on various factors. The individuals recognized the negativity that was holding them back from experiencing the beauty of life and that is a step in the right direction. Having the tattoo artist offer his services was a plus and an aid. People helping people, it is the way of life.

  16. Barb

    Just goes to show that we can all use our talents to help people. Hats off to him for his wonderful work!

  17. Jill

    Your kids will be proud!!

  18. Cathy McCallister

    Oh my gosh, what a beautiful story!

  19. Katie

    Touching, beautiful. This is what second chances is all about.

  20. Clare

    Amazing story. Changing the world in a positive way one tattoo at a time.

  21. Anonymous

    Very moving film. What a wonderful way to give back and make a difference in the community.

  22. Carole isenberg

    Moving film. Inspiring to see how in our own way with our own particular gifts we can make a difference in our own life and in the lives of others.

  23. Harris Allen

    Well done. Inspiring. Thanks to all who made this message and its viewing possible. In gratitude, Harris

  24. Andrea Levy

    Loved this story. Thank you for bringing a message of positivity and inspiration.

  25. Andrew Sherwood

    As a parent of a child with tattoo’s that I don’t see the point of – I sincerely appreciate this story. Let’s remove the hate in the world!

  26. Cheryl Sedoris

    WOW – love this guy. I didn’t get my first tattoo until I was 65. It felt like I needed to experience the physical pain along with the emotional pain of losing a dear sweet niece too early. The symbolism of what a tattoo represents deep in one’s soul is an outward expression to show your beliefs, your vulnerability and your strength. I admire this man.


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