More than a year after Kobe Bryant’s tragic helicopter accident that took the lives of nine people, Vanessa Bryant has been inked with a new tattoo in tribute to her late daughter, Gianna. The 13-year-old, known as Gigi, was a rising basketball phenom and nicknamed Mambacita in reference to her dad’s Black Mamba moniker.
On Tuesday, Bryant’s Instagram post revealed her new arm tattoo in remembrance of Gigi: the word “Mambacita”with a heart over the “I” and a butterfly at the end of the word. Tattoo artist Nikko Hurtado, who also tattooed Bryant with messages honoring Kobe and Gigi last February, was behind this body art as well.
Experts agree there can be therapeutic effects to getting memorial tattoos.
“Memorial tattoos help continue bonds with the deceased,” said Deborah Davidson, a professor of sociology at York University, told Global News.
“Tattoos can be understood as a form of public storytelling,” continued Davidson, who created The Tattoo Project, a forum for people to share their tattoos and the stories behind them. “Stories help us make sense and meaning out of things that happened to us.”
Licensed clinical social worker Rose Bleiweis believes these tattoos can be source of comfort for years to come. “I like to compare a memorial tattoo to other forms of remembrances, such as naming a baby after a family member or keeping an urn on the fireplace mantle,” she told the website Byrdie. “In general, these memorials are a constant source of comfort that never seems to wear off, and I think a tattoo is no different. We never carry anything with us all the time except for what is literally on our body, so having a memorial tattoo can be an ever present source of comfort.”
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