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Black Amish Inked Rebellion -
The last time "Amish Mafia" fans saw Alan Beiler, he was in an "undisclosed location" in the middle of a cornfield somewhere in Amish Country, Pa. The setting: a season-finale face-off with nemesis and Amish Mafia leader-of-the-pack Lebanon Levy, on the Discovery Channel's new reality series.
 
 

Set within the background of barns and haystacks, fans witnessed the culmination of a season of "hut parties" with Amish teens gone wild, pimped-out buggies, shunnings and exorcisms in the series that introduced Beiler as the "Schwarze Amish(Black Amish Man)."

With the season wrapped up and season two in production, 35-year-old Beiler has been busy under the needle with his favorite artist, Lancaster-based Tiger Ace.

As part of his ink journey, Beiler has had his chest and arms canvassed with spiritual reminder sand biblical references, a direct conflict with his Amish upbringing.

"I got my first tattoo (a crown with thorns on his bicep) as a way to rebel against the church.But I'm still pretty religious," Beiler said. "The panther on my back...I got that one during a time nobody really had my back or believed in me."

His body of ink is growing steadily; at press-time Beiler was in the middle of shading a quarter-sleeve.Earlier that week, he had what he described as a "tribal Jesus" piece permanently etched onto his arm, work he sketched while incarcerated. This piece, he said, was one of the many he drew during his jail time following an arrest that was aired during an episode of "Amish Mafia."

Fans witnessed the details of this arrest on-screen during the first season, when he was found hiding in a cornfield after police attempted to pull him over for expired tags. He says allpeople make mistakes and he is on a different path; one of redemption.

"While in prison, I got 3-2, which was my cell number...got that one with a sharpened staple and burnt hair grease to remind me of what I learned in prison, and that I never want to go back," he said, noting that having that literal reminder helps him stay focused on his future.

One of the most recent additions to his body of work includes a scripted tattoo reading: "Whom Shall I Fear" on his right arm, continuing with "...The Lord fights for me" on his left arm. These tattoos, he said, are of particular importance.

"They remind me as long as God is my main focus, he will fight my battles for me spiritually,mentally, and physically." 

While viewers eagerly await the show's second season and the outcome of the Alan vs. Levy showdown,Beiler has been busy lending his new-found fame and name to a number of causes,including the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

Through PCAR, which is a support organization and advocate for survivors of sexual abuse, Beiler has helped raise funds and bring awareness to a cause that he has a personal connection to.

"My mother was raped when she was 14 and had me," said Beiler, who was born at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, NY,before his mother moved to Lancaster, Pa.

It was in Lancaster where Beiler and his mother were taken in by an Amish-Mennonite family of missionaries. When his mother returned to New York City, Beiler remained and was adopted and raised in the Amish community.

"Children raised within the Amish community are taught Dutch and German as first languages," said Beiler. He still switches between Dutch and English with ease.

Although he spoke the language, he didn't feel he fit in and was taunted and harassed because of his ethnicity..

"Growing up Black and Amish wasn't easy. My childhood was filled with racism and sexual abuse,"he recalled, admitting he was sexually abused as early as age nine.

Beiler says he hopes he can help other children survive and overcome what he experienced growing up in the Amish community.

"The sexual abuse led to other problems, like substance abuse. Hopefully I can also use this chance to talk to people about escaping the negative that comes from being abused."

He also hopes to launch a number of projects and grow his Team B.A.M.!! brand, which will include a clothing line he calls "Vie Bisht," Amish Mafia tours, and other television ventures.

Beiler helped conceptualize "Breaking Amish," another Discovery Channel reality series that focuses on Amish teens, and introduced Hot Snakes Media, the production company behind the shows, to members of the Amish subculture.

While he is still adjusting to being recognized and signing autographs when out and about in Amish Country, he has no problem replying to the most obvious and common question asked by fans:  Is there really an Amish Mafia?

"You know I can't answer that."

Enough said. 


Article by Maishah Asante-English

Photos by Todd Foster - Foster Photography

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