Edgy, bold, and unapologetic are just simple words to describe the fashion style of Tierra Whack. When the North Philly jawn first stepped on the music scene, not only was her bars undeniable and her talent was through the roof, but she always made fans turn heads and break necks just to see what Whack was wearing where and with who.
From her ’80s-inspired exclusive footwear and apparel collaboration with her longtime stylist Shirley Kurata for Vans to her fun pattern-filled performance pieces on-stage at Coachella, Tierra Whack will always bring the heat to her fit. Now, the Grammy award-nominated rapper is merging into a new lane on the fashion speedway as she enters the world of jewelry. Today, piercing and jewelry brand Banter by Piercing Pagoda appointed the rising lyricist and songwriter as the brand’s first-ever Creative Director.
“You saying that, it made it so much more real,” Whack told ESSENCE humbly after being awarded with congratulatory words for her new role. “We’re really here. We’re doing it. We did it. I’m just so grateful to even be a part of something so historical.” Whack disclosed that when she was first approached by the Banter team, she was excited and instantly jumped at the opportunity and even praised how she and the team “meshed so well together.”
In addition to her new role, Whack will debut a capsule collection of a fun assortment of custom Whack jewelry pieces. In the spirit of collaboration with other Black women across fashion and entertainment, the artist worked alongside Black designer Malyia McNaughton, a proud member of the Black in Jewelry Coalition Board, to curate a wide range of bracelets, earrings, rings, and charms. Did we mention that everything in the collection is gold? That’s right – solid 10k and plated, honey!
“I’m always looking forward to one, working with women and then of course Black women. That takes the cake, so why not? Why wouldn’t I want to work with people who look like me and make history? Create cool things together,” Whack exclaimed. With her ever-evolving brand as an artist and her hands in the fashion and beauty laned, she harped on the importance of teaming up with other dope Black women as she ventures into the corporate space of the entertainment business.
The collaborative collection was inspired by Whack’s early childhood experiences with jewelry. In fact, one of the sources of inspiration was a memory of bonding with her mother when she got her ears pierced. “I got my ears pierced at a really young age. I had little gold bracelets and a little chain when I was a kid. Then when I got old enough, I got a ring. As I’m getting older, it all kind of came together so I think I’m staying true to my roots with this Banter collab,” she described. “Just keeping it minimal, but it’s still pieces that can make your outfit really pop.”
Whack remembered when she first started in the industry a few years ago and reminisced on her love and appreciation for bold colors and sharp patterns. Now that she’s older and in a better place in her career, she feels as though she’s able to experiment with her wardrobe more freely without monetary restrictions. “I’m going to keep it all the way real. I’m making more money doing good for myself, so I’m able to afford some of the really cool [stuff] because almost all of the really cool stuff is expensive,” she said humbly.
“I’m just happy that I’m able to afford some of the really cool pieces and be able to reach out and connect with people who are killing the game fashion-wise, jewelry, everything.”
Whack continued, “I used to have a little scratch book of pieces that I liked in magazines that I just never imagined I would be able to get my hands on. So now that I am, I’m just like, wow, everything’s coming together. My dreams are coming true.”
With fashion and beauty being a huge part of her life since she was a little girl, Whack recognizes the significance of this full-circle moment. Deeming jewelry as an absolute “necessity” for a look, Whack doesn’t feel completely dressed without some bling on. “There has never been a day that I’ve gotten dressed and I didn’t have a piece of jewelry on,” she admitted about the way she accessorizes.
Earrings, necklaces, and rings are just part of the pieces in her jewelry collection that she cannot live without. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they dress, but what does Whack’s passion for fashion and accessorizing say about her? Rather than speaking on herself, she pulled back to praise one of her early style and beauty inspirations – her grandmother.
“She had so much jewelry. I’m talking about she had rings on every finger, a few necklaces, chains, and earrings of course,” she shared. Whack recalled vivid memories of watching her grandmother and admiring a small jewelry box that would sit at the top of her dresser. “Literally jewelry [was] just spilling out of it. Sometimes she would go through the jewelry and let me try stuff on, but just seeing at a young age how much her jewelry meant to her, I think it kind of spilled over into me and my obsession with these gold pieces.”
Whack continued, “Also growing up realizing hip-hop culture. LL Cool J, Missy [Elliott], Busta [Rhymes] – all these artists are wearing the gold. I don’t know. It’s just something about gold that just makes me feel like, ‘ooh.’ It feels like royalty.”
The Tierra Whack collection ranges from $55- $1,750 and will be available at locations nationwide and on Banter.com on July 14th both online and at all 500+ Banter by Piercing Pagoda locations.