5 Things You Need to Know About Big Freedia

Posted October 12, 2016 by J Matthew Cobb in Features

Bounce/hip-hop underground artist and LGBT icon Big Freedia demystified

Despite making music for well over twenty years and still being billed an independent artist, reality TV star (Fuse’s Big Freedia Queen of Bounce) and New Orleans bounce artist Big Freedia is finally starting to make big strides in the industry. Rubbing elbows with Diplo, getting rave concert reviews from Rolling Stone and setting Guinness world records for twerk mob showdowns is just part of the story, but here are five things you probably should know about the New Orleans dance sensation.

1. Big Freedia came to slay.
“I did not come to play with you hoes,” Freedia shouts. That short but poignant ad-lib towards the front of Beyoncé‘s “Formation” is actually Freedia. It’s a phrase that’s not universal, and one that bonds two queens together: Queen Bey and…

2. ….the Queen of Bounce.
It’s an unofficial title, but one that comes with the territory. And that’s because Freedia is fully dedicated in spreading the word of the New Orleans bounce genre, a fast-paced fusion of gay-centric hip-hop and repetitive urban club beats mostly derived from crunk and Miami bass. “I’ve been at the forefront of it for the last five years and working tremendously hard traveling all around the world, traveling nationally and internationally, making people aware of the sound and of the culture of New Orleans,” says Freedia. “I definitely deserve most of the credit for getting [bounce music] to where it is now.”


3. Big Freedia’s gender identity is still a work in progress.
In 2011, Freedia went on record to say that he is not transgender. “I am just a gay male. I wear women’s hair and carry a purse, but I am a man. I answer to either ‘he’ or ‘she.'” That was then, but in an Out magazine article, a little bit had changed. Freedia went on to reveal that when using pronouns, “she” was the preferred choice. But Freedia won’t be easily offended when fans use “he.” “I came out when I was thirteen,” Freedia told San Diego LGBT Weekly in 2015. “I’m a straight up gay man. I love my feminine side. She is the diva in me. I think gender identity is on a spectrum and that means there’s lots of grey area.”

4. Before there was Miley…
When Miley Cyrus uploaded her unicorn onesie video featuring “twerking” dance moves and reiterating the moves on the MTV VMAs, the underground ass-gyrating dance move had instantly become a household phenomenon. And some silly people actually thought Cyrus has created the darn thing. Oh, racial appropriation at its best (or worst, if you ask me). Freedia doesn’t get full credit of inventing twerking (also called p-popping) either, but it’s a vital part of bounce music and has much of its origins in New Orleans, where Freedia is a native.

5. Mother Ru knows best.
Drag super sensation RuPaul Charles, known to the masses simply as RuPaul, featured Freedia on two singles: the popular “Peanut Butter” and “Freaky Money,” the latter featured as the opening track on RuPaul’s Born Naked LP.


BIG FREEDIA hits the road this fall with a nine-city tour with opening act Tank & the Bangas. The tour opens in Birmingham, Ala. on Oct. 12 at Saturn and will continue to Nashville, Atlanta, Washington DC and Brooklyn, NY. View flyer below for details.

ALTLOUD is a new music + lifestyle section at HiFi Magazine focusing on the music market aimed at our LGBT readers, followers and subscribers.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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