Watch National Geographic’s Short Documentary on the History of Grillz
National Geographic might be in the market for some hood points with their new documentary. The educational news outlet debuted a short documentaruy earlier this month (March 5) called The Secret History of Grillz tracing the timeline of gold and diamond-encrusted grills. As the nearly three-minute video explains, though grills emerged in America in the early ’80s, the evidence of this trend dates back to the days of the Mayan Empire. The video even shows archeologists diving into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico to explore ancient Mayan skulls with gold-encrusted teeth. Jumping from Mayan times to the birth of hip-hop, gold grills took on a whole new meaning.
“Ironically gold is one of the cheapest ways to fill a cavity so many Black neighborhoods in Brooklyn and The Bronx suddenly had all these people with gold teeth,” says the narrator in the clip. “Native New Yorkers started to get gold in their teeth as a fashion statements and the rise of hip-hop in the ’80s led to a reclaiming of what they could represent; turning a sign of poverty into proof of empowerment.”
Hip-hop acts like Paul Wall, Ashanti and C. Stone the Breadwinner make appearances in the clip to talk about what wearing grillz means to them. Nat Geo even got a hold of celebrity jeweler Johnny Dang, also known as the Grill Master, to talk about making crazy grillz apart of hip-hop’s aesthetic since 1996.
Check out the “The Secret History of Grillz” via Nat Geo below.
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