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Tierra Whack: Tiny Desk Concert

This Black Music Month, Tiny Desk is giving the ladies their flowers. We’re releasing nine Tiny Desk concerts from Black women artists, from veterans who’ve paved the way for what we hear today in Black music, to those who are carving out their own paths.

Before we start, a warning: This concert includes a song about suicide.

Tierra Whack and her band she dubbed "The Big Backs" might go down as having one of the best Tiny Desks in history. Why? Whack manages to keep all of us on our toes, pulling endless tricks out of her bag.

Her Tiny Desk performance gave playful, grade school shenanigans: Whack wielding a giant Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil, the band throwing balls of paper at each other, Whack tossing paper airplanes into the audience and a super special appearance by the Phillie Phanatic. “Y’all know I gotta keep it Philly. I bleed green. I bleed red. Anything Philly is all me. I had to bring a piece of home with me,” Whack says after inviting the Philadelphia Phillies' mascot behind the Desk for “MOOVIES.”

Whack has been an invigorating presence in music since releasing her debut mixtape, Whack World, in 2018. At the Desk, she performs fresh arrangements of the biggest cuts from that album — “Flea Market,” “Pretty Ugly” and “Hungry Hippo” — before traversing an array of songs from her newest release, WORLD WIDE WHACK. Whack and her bandmates are so locked in, it’s hard to believe that this performance is her first time fronting a live band. Aside from the tasteful arrangements, creativity and synergy, I especially love how each person behind the Desk lets their inner kid out to play.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or is in crisis, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 9-8-8, or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.


  • “Flea Market”
  • “Pretty Ugly”
  • “Hungry Hippo”
  • “27 CLUB”


  • Tierra Whack: lead vocals
  • Ali Bervine: bass
  • Mary Floyd: keys, vocals
  • Russell Gelman-Sheehan: guitar
  • Michelle Hunt: vocals
  • Charles Jackson: keys
  • Sheldon Robinson: percussion
  • Mark Thomas: drums


  • Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Director/Editor: Kara Frame
  • Audio Technical Director: Hannah Gluvna
  • Videographers: Kara Frame, Maia Stern, Mitra I. Arthur, Elizabeth Gillis
  • Audio Engineers: Valentina Rodriguez Sanchez, Josh Newell
  • Production Assistant: Ashley Pointer
  • Photographer: Alanté Serene
  • Animation: Jackie Lay
  • Florist: Kelanda Edwards
  • Tiny Desk Team: Joshua Bryant, Hazel Cills
  • Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
  • Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

Copyright 2024 NPR

Ashley Pointer
Ashley Pointer is a news assistant for NPR Music.
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