Philadelphia-born rapper Tierra Whack has made a name for herself not only because of her slick lyrics, but also her one-of-a-kind sense of style. Known for her love of bold colors and patterns, the musician is the first-ever creative director of Banter by Piercing Pagoda, showcasing a collection of jewelry designed for authentic self-expression.
The collaboration highlights the brand’s commitment to creating and strengthening an inclusive community, encouraging wholehearted uniqueness. Never afraid to be herself, Whack’s designs are designed to amplify the personality of the wearer. Using her boundless creativity, Whack’s range was made in collaboration with designer Malyia McNaughton, a member of the Black in Jewelry Coalition.
“I’m thrilled to be the very first Creative Director of Banter by Piercing Pagoda and to provide a unique vision of what jewelry means to me,” Tierra Whack shares. “My fans have always been a huge inspiration. Like me, they all celebrate creativity. I’m thrilled to now turn my attention to creating jewelry that brings all of our shared passions to life. I can’t think of a stronger partner to do this than Banter, who helps people express their own style every day.
Officially launching on July 14, the collection includes eye-catching starburst earrings, a nail-inspired bracelet, as well as a statement necklace featuring the rapper’s last name in bold print. Elsewhere, angel wings and musical notes make delicate charms, perfect for pendants or wrist accessories. Tierra Whack and Banter by Piercing Pagoda’s Collection is available on the brand’s website.
Hypebae spoke to Tierra ahead of the collection’s release. Keep scrolling to learn more about how the artist cultivated her own style and how others can lean in to be themselves.
Why does Banter de Piercing Pagoda resonate with you?
Growing up, I always stopped by Piercing Pagoda in malls, so I have a lot of personal memories and experiences with the brand. It really is a dream come true that we got along so well. The team really gave me a voice to do what I wanted and they supported the vision I had.
Could you tell us a bit about what inspired your piece designs, especially as a creative in the music industry?
With everything I create, it has to be true to who I am. There are pieces that I would wear, so I was definitely a little selfish as a big fan of the brand. It was like being a kid in a candy store, I just did what I wanted. Everything I saw in my head, we just brought it to life. My preference is to keep it minimal, while still having elements that pop. For black women, jewelry can take on a life of its own. It’s an accessory, but it’s almost as important as the outfit.
What did it mean to you to work with the Black Jewelry Coalition?
Prior to my partnership with Banter by Piercing Pagoda, I was unaware of the coalition. My team shared several designers with me and I made sure to do my homework and seek out all of these talented people. Being able to support black women is extremely important to me, especially with such a large platform.
What advice would you give to anyone who is currently in a dangerous or stuffy environment and struggling to find their own style?
My mom definitely played a role for me. As I grew older and she allowed me to dress, her only rule was to be comfortable. She gave me a lot of freedom to express myself through fashion. I was trying a lot of different things, like wearing really bright colors or matching shoes and lots of jewelry.
Growing up, when it came to fashion, I looked up to OutKast, Andre 3000 and Big Boy. I feel like Kelis doesn’t have enough credit. Her style has always been fly, she has always had bright colors, different patterns and designs. There’s also Tracy Ellis Ross, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliot, just people who are in left field.
Experimentation helps build self-confidence if you’re not comfortable with it. If you don’t believe in yourself, then how can you expect others to? I sure got some weird, devious compliments but I feel like I’d spend hours picking out an outfit and once I walked out I just walked with my head held high and then people started to respect it. What’s the worst thing someone can really say about you? Another person’s opinion of what you’re wearing shouldn’t matter, because they’re not wearing it. If I want to wear very bright colors and pearls, that’s what I’m going to do. It’s my decision, my freedom. It definitely takes time to become confident in your own voice and style, but I think once you realize you’re the only one living your life, then you don’t care.