DJ Pierce Talks Shangela, 'RuPaul's Drag Race' And Living With Jenifer Lewis
The Texas native shared how he learned to take pride in his true self and never give up on his dreams.
July 26, 2021 at 4:13 pm
Beloved TV personality DJ Pierce talked about his latest ventures and his rise to stardom when he sat down for an interview with Blavity on Friday.
Pierce said he's currently collaborating with Coin Cloud to produce a short film titled Currency of Currency, directed by Spike Lee.
The TV star, who was working on another project when he received the offer to work the legendary director, immediately accepted the opportunity.
"I was like sign me up, count me in and when do I fly?" DJ Pierce told Blavity's Kenny Williams.
Coin Cloud describes itself as "the largest and fastest-growing digital currency machine (DCM) operator in the world."
"The Currency of Currency is a raw and honest snapshot of the history of money and the inequalities inherent in legacy U.S. financial systems," the company said in a statement. "From institutions that intentionally exclude communities of color to wealth gaps that threaten the futures of millions of Americans, the ad shines a spotlight on how traditional currency needs another look, as well as the opportunity digital currency provides."
DJ Pierce also emphasized the significance of bringing diversity to digital currency.
"Everything in our world should be inclusive," he said. "Everything should have an element of diversity to it. Our communities, especially Black and Brown communities, have been left behind with regard to a lot of innovations. This move right here that Coin Cloud is making with regard to digital currency is something that gives great accessibility to people from all different walks of life, especially communities that don't always have access to new types of wealth."
The actor said his family didn't have the luxury of saving money while growing up, but he later learned about financial literacy as he got older.
"It's important that we get financial education because a lot of times especially in Black and brown community specifically, we don't have access to financial education," he said. "What is a 401k? What is the importance of a 401k? What is the importance of saving money and building wealth? Why must you have a good credit score? Why must you watch out for the pitfalls of various credit cards? Why is it important to invest?"
While speaking with Blavity, DJ Pierce reflected on the challenges of growing up as a Black, gay person in a small town in Texas. He said it was especially difficult for him because he often went to church with his family and heard negative remarks about sexuality.
"It would make me very uncomfortable," the Texas native said, adding that he didn't come out until the age of 18 when he left for college.
But the actor also had his mother and grandmother on his side.
"My grandma always encouraged me," he said. "She always was in my corner. If anyone spoke bad about me, she always kind of built me back up in a way and I'm very grateful for that because in life you don't always have that. People don't always have families that support them."
The rising star said some days are difficult, but it's always important to support each other.
"When we empower others around us, it also empowers as well and I want everyone to live their best, most authentic and fabulous life," he said. "I say that because I know how happy I am living mine. I know how much happier I am embracing all the parts of who I am and trying to fortify those every day."
As he looked back on his journey to stardom, DJ Pierce talked about the challenges he faced while trying to find his place on the reality TV show RuPaul's Drag Race.
"In the second season I was the first one voted out. Third season I was the first one brought back and then I had people feeling I shouldn't have been there because I'd only been doing drag for like one year," he said.
But the reality TV star said he never gave up.
"I kept pushing because I've always had great goals in life," he said. "I've always been a goal-oriented person. I knew that in life if something was going to happen I had to work toward it because I saw people around me working toward things, so I never was a stranger to working."
DJ Pierce thanked actress Jenifer Lewis, who allowed the rising star to live with her for 10 years while he chased his dreams.
"I lived in Jennifer Lewis's basement for 10 years and you don't live with someone like Jennifer Lewis and work closely with them and become close friends without learning something," the entertainer said. "I was gifted to be able to learn so much and you know as a drag entertainer and someone who's working in Hollywood to get these lessons from someone who's known all of the ebb and flow of the entertainment industry, but also someone who also came from very humble beginnings."