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‘I Realized Who I Did and Didn’t Want to Become as an Adult’: How One Man Is Daring to Combat Hate

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‘I Realized Who I Did and Didn’t Want to Become as an Adult’: How One Man Is Daring to Combat Hate

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LightWorkers Spirit Award winner, Cy Dodson captures Appalachia tattoo artist, Billy Joe White's redemptive crusade of "erasing the hate," in his short documentary film, "Beneath the Ink."

The permanence of tattoos can be incredibly compelling for fans of the art form. It’s inspiring to encounter someone who shares the powerful and uplifting meaning behind their tattoo, but unfortunately, tattoos can also scar the wearer if they mark themselves with a message of hate.

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Beneath the Ink by Cy Dobson is a gripping documentary short and winner of the LightWorkers Spirit Award. In this video, we meet Billy White who works as a tattoo artist in rural Ohio. Billy has committed to offering free cover-ups of hate-filled tattoos that represent Nazis, the KKK or other hate group ideology. He doesn’t judge the people who seek his services, instead, he offers them a safe place to put their hateful sentiments aside. “I don’t care why they got it. I couldn’t stand by anymore, as I often do. What can I do? I just feel like I have to do something.”

In this video, we meet a man who once subscribed to white supremacist values, but after becoming a father to a black son, is now deeply ashamed of his KKK-inspired tattoo. “I don’t want my son to know that his dad participated in that.” With Billy’s help, this man can turn a tattoo of regret into a transformative piece of lasting art.

Check out the video above and you can watch the documentary in full at GQ’s YouTube page here or below.