As a woman of Guyanese descent, I always knew gold teeth to be more of a cultural practice than a fashion statement. Although the history of gold teeth dates back to the days of the Mayans, it was the West Indian immigrants who moved to New York in the 80’s and merged their culture with the rise of Hip Hop that started the trend. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY in the 90’s, I quickly learned that gold teeth, better known as grillz, were a staple in Black culture. As a way to show status and wealth, men and women would dress an individual tooth, or the entire row in gold or diamonds.
Rappers like Big Daddy Cane and Slick Rick made it known that iced out teeth was a fashion statement for the elite. This form of expression was no different from wearing oversized medallion chains and Rolex watches. The gaudier the teeth, the wealthier you were. As the trend caught on, women joined in, debuting a more subtle set of grillz.
Over the years, the trend was picked up and appropriated by mainstream culture. When artists like Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian showed off their icy grillz it was viewed as different and innovative. When rappers like Nicki Minaj or Nelly would do it, it was seen as hood or ghetto. Despite the criticism, Black people showed off their jeweled mouthpieces for the world to see.
There is something about a woman in grillz that makes me happy. While gold teeth carry different meanings in different cultures, it is a fun form or personal expression in the Black community. These celebrities feel the same. Here are 8 women who’ve flossed out in their golden mouthpieces.
Looks like Loni Love decided to give her mouth an upgrade. The comedian and talk show host showed off her icy mouth piece for the gram.
I mean, of course the infamous bad gal would have her set of grillz. The serial entrepreneur has been known to floss in a variety of mouth pieces.
Kelis’ style was always fun and quirky. From her multicolored hairstyles to her retro gold teeth, she was a complete vibe in the 2000’s.
T Murda AKA Tracee Ellis Ross
Actress, comedian, and fashion killah Tracee Ellis Ross has shown us her grillz on several occasions. Her rapper alter ego, T Murda, has been known to drop some bars while flossing her gold fronts.
Beyonce is the branding queen. For her Ivy Park launch, she showed off her cute but subtle Adidas gold cap.
Erykah Badu is the queen of accessories. Her extravagant headpieces, bold rings, and detailed necklaces are one thing, her blinged out grillz are another.
Lizzo showed off her first set of grillz for the gram. If I were to get a mouthpiece in this lifetime, it would be this gold and diamond drip.
I’d expect the queen of Icy life, Saweetie, to floss in diamond grillz. The rapper showed off a mouth full of diamonds.