Johnson and his longtime friend Henry appear to be at odds once again. The beef between the two started in season 3 after Johnson accused the 9 MAG owner of letting fame and reality television change go to his head. Their beef escalated in season 4 when Henry walked away from his old crew and began a new shop on his own. Johnson felt Henry betrayed him and left him and the other employees to fend for themselves.
Johnson and Henry ended season 4 on shaky grounds, but Johnson later took to Instagram in May 2018 and assured fans that there was no was longer any beef between him and his former bestie.
“I DO NOT HAVE BAD BLOOD WITH RYAN HIS FAMILY OR FRIENDS BECAUSE WHEN I SEE THEM THEY SHAKE MY HAND BECAUSE OF RESPECT,” Johnson wrote. “I ONLY WANT THE BEST FOR LOYAL INK AND 9MAG.”
However, in season 5 the tattoo artists’ friendship appeared to had taken a turn for the worse. In the season premiere that aired on Wednesday, Jan. 2, Johnson and Henry almost came to blows. The “Chicagorilla Co.” fashion owner was upset that Henry banned him from 9 MAG and failed to apologize to him for his role in their feud. Over the course of multiple seasons, Johnson also claimed that he helped Henry build his tattoo shop from the ground up. The former 9 MAG employees met at Johnson’s house to discuss his beef with Henry. Johnson insinuated to the crew that 9 MAG partially belongs to him because of his helping hand.
At another point in the episode, Johnson learned Henry apologized to one of the former 9 MAG members, Don Brumfield, for taking over Loyal Ink last season. Johnson became upset that Henry did not apologize to him and confronted the 9 MAG owner at Lily Barrios’ 25th birthday party. Henry and Johnson got into an explosive altercation and almost threw hands. However, a Chicago patrol car somehow materialized out of nowhere during their confrontation and cleared the area of patrons.
“Black Ink Crew: Chicago” viewers felt Johnson was acting “bitter” and “jealous” toward Henry because of his success.
“Van is so damn bitter #BlackInkChi.”
“Van needs to comes to terms with the fact that he’s an employee and has always been an employee. You don’t see Walmart’s first cashiers saying they built Walmart from the ground up . ”
“Van you caused the most issues with a shop that wasn’t even yours and still isn’t yours. If anybody should be apologizing it’s you to Ryan. You acting jealous bro.”
One fan jumped to Johnson’s defense. ” I think it’s really wack that Ryan can have no remorse when it comes to @vantatznoexcuses. He did technically help you after all.”
Neither Johnson nor Henry has offered any public comments about last night’s episode, but it does appear the pair will make up sometime during season, according to the trailer for the season premiere.