Jason Momoa's New Head Tattoo Honors His Culture In A Meaningful Way
He called the experience "magical."
Jason Momoa is living his best life. After shaving his head (and throwing fans of his flowing locks into a total tailspin) on Tuesday, Sept. 5, the See actor added yet another new chapter to his hair evolution. Momoa’s shaved head is now Momoa’s tattooed head. That’s right, folks. Aquaman has joined the pantheon of celebrities who’ve revealed fresh from-the-neck-up ink on social media. While Momoa’s head tattoo is less subtle than, say, Cardi B’s touching face tat tribute to her son, Wave, it still holds special meaning. Not only was Momoa’s head tattoo done in a traditional, Polynesian style, but the design it depicts is one meant to honor his heritage.
On Thursday, Sept. 15th, Momoa shared photos of himself on Instagram before, during, and after receiving a tattoo that covers about a fourth of his head. The photos, taken by photographer Mainei Kinimaka, show Momoa with the artwork drawn in red on his close-cropped scalp as well as the actor undergoing Kākau, a traditional Polynesian style of tattoo art that involves hand-tapping ink into the skin. In the caption of his Instagram post, Momoa shared that receiving his head tattoo was a “powerful moment” and that he was honored to have shared it with family and friends.
It appears that Momoa may have gotten the ink soon after shaving his head. On the same day he shared Kinamaka’s photos — the pics are also featured in the Leica Women Foto Project, a photography series designed to highlight women’s visual storytelling — he also posted an Instagram Reel that ended with the actor taking off his hat to reveal his head tattoo, which looks quite healed.
In the video, Momoa shouts out Sulu'ape Keone Nunes, the artist who brought his tattoo vision to life. According to the caption on his Reel, Momoa’s head tattoo has been a project “20 years in the making,” which makes the ink that much more special. (Seriously. Have you ever waited twenty years for something this cool?)
While there’s no information yet available on how long Momoa’s tattoo took, Kākau isn’t a fast process. According to an article in Ke Ola magazine, these traditional, hand-tapped tattoo sessions can take as long as five hours and a tattoo may not be finished in a single session. The process of receiving a traditional tattoo like Momoa’s is also steeped in community and ritual, as the actor’s photos show. It’s considered an honor to be marked with a tattoo like this and the experience is one shared with friends and family. Learning about the rich history and cultural importance of ink like Momoa’s has brought about a significant change of heart for yours truly. I can no longer be mad that Momoa cut his hair. His new head tattoo is just too special.