Girls in Grills

by Kweli I. Wright

Grills are nothing new. The metal dental molds gained popularity when hip-hop artists sported them in the early 1980s, and upgraded them during the 90s in New York City, but they became widely popular during the mid-2000s in the South. But now, as is with everything that has modern-day roots in hip-hop, grills have reached a more mainstream pop culture status. Remember Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte’s American flag iced-out grills?

Ladies have also rocked grills for years, so when Beyonce popped up on her website yesterday with a clever little fanged version of the accessory on her lower teeth, reactions went from “cute” to “who does she think she is?!?” I guess we’re just getting accustomed to having all this access to Bey—who has been decidedly private over the past decade—and the different sides of her personality…or do you think she’s just frontin’? Reminder: Bey is straight-country girl underneath all the glitz, and she wore grills in her “Bootylicious” video back in 2001.

I sort of love it (surprise, surprise), and so do a few others at the Clutch offices. Rihanna, Kelis and Lady Gaga have all worn the look, and with just the right amount of edge that let’s you know they’re real women who have different sides to their personalities. They’re a little sexy, a bit badass and cheeky. Are we alone… or are you with us?

  • Keisa

    I must admit, I had a grill back in about 2003, 2 white gold teeth at the top in the corner….I know, SMH. They were cute though! I wish I had some pics!

  • daphne debauchee

    Never had one, but I love ‘em.

  • Yvette

    Not feeling the grill, but I love Beyonce’s messy-bun-sexy-librarian look she has going on…too cute.

  • akamissi

    I agree with Yvette.

  • Ms. Information

    I get the grill for celebrity fanfare, but for the regular girl, not so much…but do you….it’s just something very “tyrone” about them…

  • Rue

    sorry, but i can’t. They are a huge nose turn up for meIf the ladies are doing it for an editorial/photo shoot then maybe The rest, nope. I always think rotten teeth or bad breath. I know it’s wrong but i just can’t……..

  • K. Moore

    Grills are tacky on regular people and on celebrities. I would never walk around with grills in my mouth,very unprofessional,tacky,and not ladylike.

  • Blue

    Ewwww… not lady like. I hated them on guys in the early 2000′s & I hate it now. I always thought they made your teeth look rotten. Plus the guys that wore them were the kind no woman should ever date (but that’s another story)

  • Theantifash

    Grills were popular in the south prior to the mid 2000′s, or at least they were in Tejas (the home state Bey and I share). I love the fact that the biggest pop star in the world is rocking a grill, It’s very Texas (Dallas Native Badu wears one too). I would certainly rock one without doubt, but I would also rock Balenciaga boots, Delfina Delettrez cuff, and Rick Owens leather jacket, that’s just me…Question, what’s the definition of ladylike?

  • keepitreal

    So effin tacky, low brow, classless, nasty, trashy…..

  • binks

    You are along…lol I just don’t get it…shrugs I keep to the pearly whites

  • C

    I think it is really ugly on anybody, women, men, everyday people, and celebs alike. Every time I think of a grill, I think of those overpriced grills with the multicolored flashing lights that are sold at stands during celebrations and shows. They look tacky, too.

  • Cybertronic Purgatory

    personally, i think Kelis is the only woman on whom i thought a grill looked pretty good. not my fave fashion statement, but on other women to me it just looks like they’re trying too hard.

  • Child, Please

    When I think of grills, two things come to mind: Nelly and Big Gipp’s song and the fact tha Lil Wayne need sooooo much dental work before his prison stint because they had damaged his teeth. Other than that, I thought they went out of style with the urban gear, leaving the size of the fitted cap on the fat and bubble jackets.

  • txnative

    Classless. Take that Mitches! Instagram photos not candid but more, look at me! Pay attention to me!

  • Zan

    “It’s so very Texas”? Oh, chile…so now we have grills to add to our numerous “claims to fame”. *eye roll*

    I can’t wait to leave this backwards-ass state. *eye roll*

  • Zan

    all synonymous with “Be-yawn-ce”.

  • TheAntifash


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