Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball
A Do-or-Die Artist, Exaggerating Her Blackness
"It's so specific that I have these lips and these eyes, even this body. I feel so special to be a Black girl, to have so much melanin. I have to make it count."

Musician, poet, and frontwoman for Tank and the Bangas, Tarriona ‘Tank’ Ball’s outsized hair matches her huge personality. But the New Orleans native wasn’t always so expressive. Her life changed dramatically when she fled to Indianapolis during Hurricane Katrina, where her life became both the best and the worst of her life. Though desperately missing the rich culture of her hometown, she was ecstatic with suddenly no longer being required to wear school uniforms. This, combined with the hoards of donated clothing that she was being offered, helped Tank to find her style mojo. As Tank says in her interview, “I was able to literally redefine who I wanted to be.” While she still battles with the unspoken rules of being a ‘Big Girl,’ (and recoils at being in a separate category from regular ‘girls’) she feels the most beautiful when she is using her style to exaggerate and celebrate her black features. As she puts it, “To have so much melanin is so special. I have to make it count.”

 

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Tank's episode was edited by Kirsten Johnson
What's Underneath is produced by Elisa, Lily, & Mona
Thank you to Ace Hotel New Orleans for providing us with a location to film Tank’s episode!

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