Newhouse Master’s Student Jordan Pierre Seeks to Amplify Unheard Voices Through Clothing Brand

Jordan Pierre ’23 wants to build a village—not a physical one, but a collective of people helping each other and using their voices to amplify those who may have gone unheard.  

Jordan Pierre headshot
Pierre (Photo courtesy of Syracuse University)

The platform for the television, radio and film master’s student to build that community is his clothing brand, VOICE, which he launched as a sophomore in high school. Pierre, who earned his bachelor’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Newhouse last May, maintained the business through his undergraduate career and now hopes to grow VOICE again while he completes his yearlong master’s program.  

“They say it takes a village to raise a child,” Pierre said. “I extended that quote and say now that it takes a village to raise a child and that village does not have to look one way, but they must share the same mission, which is that of equity.”   

The roots of VOICE go back to 10th grade, when Pierre said he witnessed the injustice of media coverage that existed back home in Brooklyn, New York. He noticed that news outlets only started to cover stories after tragedy struck, like when a young Black man in his community was killed. 

“A eulogy shouldn’t be the only time the voice of my community is heard,” he said.  

a person leans on a rack of clothes and smiles
Pierre at the VOICE pop-up shop on March 27. (Photo by Malcolm Taylor)

Pierre decided he would use his experiences to generate positive action and created VOICE as a “form of resistance and reaction to the conditions I was being raised under.”  

Classmates and friends have asked him for years for a VOICE sweatshirt. He began granting those requests on March 27 at a pop-up shop at 171 Marshall Street in Syracuse. 

The VOICE collection he promoted at the pop-up shop, called “Can’t Fold,” draws its inspiration from the streets of Brooklyn, he said.

“This phrase encapsulates the resilience of those who, despite facing adversity, refuse to succumb to despair.” 

Pierre knew the decision to stay at Syracuse after earning his undergraduate degree in May was right not only for him, but for the students who will follow in his footsteps.

“I felt like there was some work that was undone, and I didn’t effectively equip or teach young men how to carry the baton after I left,” Pierre said.  

Pierre is also the recipient of a Forever Orange Scholarship, which provides half the tuition for students who enroll full-time in a qualifying graduate degree or certificate program at Syracuse University. The scholarship is automatically available to graduating seniors who are eligible for admission and commit to attend graduate school immediately after graduation. 

VOICE is not only a brand or a sweatshirt, but symbolic of Pierre’s village of people that want to take a stand against injustice. Pierre said that someone making the choice to represent VOICE shows that they, like him, are not going to stay silent and know they are capable of evoking change. 

a person smiles and claps their hands
“This phrase encapsulates the resilience of those who, despite facing adversity, refuse to succumb to despair,” Pierre said of the VOICE “Can’t Fold” collection. (Photo by Malcolm Taylor)

Pierre makes sure no opportunity to use his platform is wasted, making his message clear in a powerful speech at Newhouse Convocation in May 2023 that landed him on “The Today Show” on NBC. 

As he completes his graduate year, Pierre is using his platform to build community. Every Thursday night, he facilitates a meeting of 15 to 20 young men on campus where he teaches them to navigate conversations about equity and making oneself heard.   

These meetings, like VOICE, are about “making other people understand that they, too, have the power to shift the paradigm of the nation,” Pierre said.   

For Pierre, the Newhouse School has equipped him with the understanding of language and the media to convey a message to an audience.  

two people playing basketball on a court
Pierre created VOICE as a “form of resistance and reaction to the conditions I was being raised under,” he said. (Photo by Carlos Magdeleno)

“We say that those who control media control the mind,” Pierre said, “And I’ve learned more about how media plays a role in shaping identity and shaping the lens through which we see the world.”  

That’s how Pierre decided that he wants to use his platform to educate himself “and then re-disseminate certain information that is learned” to people in his community. To do that successfully, Pierre said he has tapped into lessons from Newhouse faculty members like Brad Gorham, Robert Thompson and J. Christopher Hamilton, who Pierre said have provided him with foundational knowledge, the ability to critically analyze and a financial understanding of the media industry. 

With his clearly curated vision, Pierre feels that now is the perfect time for a resurgence of the brand he started in high school.   

“I’m at the time now where I believe God is making space in my life to build a village,” he said.  “And I think this will be the first time to see it visibly, the impact I’m having based on the amount of people willing to be a part of the village.” 

Brooke Borzymowski is a junior broadcast and digital journalism major at the Newhouse School.