By mid-afternoon Sunday, Douglas Taylor had inked about 20 tattoos in the gym of the Rosa Jackson Center on Maynard Street.
He was doing it for free. That meant he had given away $1,200 of his services, considering that Taylor normally charges about $60 for each similar tattoo at his business, Lokey Tattoos.
He wasn’t done yet. One hundred and forty-five people had signed up to get free tattoos Sunday.
“I’m going to do it ’til I can’t do any more,” Taylor said.
Taylor wasn’t the only one volunteering his services at Sunday’s MakeOver Mactown Day event at the Jackson center. There were also barbers, nail technicians, makeup artists and hair stylists. But Taylor had a special motivation. Last month, his 17-year-old son was convicted of murdering a man during a robbery.
“That’s my point of being here, to try to reach the youth and teach them from his mistakes,” Taylor said. “We’re trying to turn a negative into a positive. We’re really giving back.”
Community uplift was the main theme of MakeOver Mactown Day, which drew several hundred people to the Jackson center. In addition to free cosmetic services, visitors were treated to free food, live entertainment, children’s games and a DJ who played everything from “My Girl” to “My Boo.”
The event was the third of its kind organized by 25-year-old Jean Gibson and 26-year-old Aaron Daniels, who together run a promotions, advertising and marketing business called RTB Musik Entertainment. Previous MakeOver Mactown Days were held at the Cox Capitol Theatre downtown.
Daniels said the purpose of MakeOver Mactown is “giving back to the community and boosting the morale of the community.”
“There are too many negative things in the community and we’re trying to enforce positive things,” he said. “We try to give hope where there is no hope.”
Daniels said he was pleased with the turnout at Sunday’s MakeOver Mactown Day, the first one with free admission.
“This thing is overwhelming, this is crazy,” he said. “I was expecting it to be big, but not this big.”
Gibson and Daniels promoted the event through Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, e-mail and public service announcements on radio and local media Web sites. They also passed out fliers in the nearby Davis Homes public housing neighborhood.
Davis Homes resident Clarissa Dennard came to the event because she saw one of the fliers. She got a free tattoo from Taylor, which brought the total on her body to nine. The new tattoo was on her left shoulder and read, “Lucky 7.”
“That’s what I call my kids, because I have seven kids,” said Dennard, who drives a garbage truck for the city of Macon.
Dennard brought all her children, who range in age from 7 to 19, to the event. She said she came “to bring the kids for all the free stuff and all the activities.”
Kenisha Reynolds and two of her children, 9-year-old JaKireya and 10-year-old John’Darius, stood in line for hot dogs and hamburgers.
Reynolds said she came “to show some support for the neighborhood,” to get a haircut for John’Darius and to have Jakireya’s nails done.
“It’s going to help me a lot, because I don’t have to pay $10 for a haircut,” Reynolds said.
“And a tattoo!” John’Darius said. “You’re not getting no tattoo,” his mother replied.