Big Freedia

Ambassador of Bounce Music

September 14, 2017


How old are you?

A girl never tells her age.

Fair enough.

I’m old enough though. I’m legal.

Where are you from originally?

New Orleans, Louisiana, born and raised.

Why are you still here?

This is home. I’ve breathed this air my whole life. I’m familiar with the whole city. I know where everything is. I’m familiar with the food. I love the food, the culture, the people. That is what makes it home.

How would you explain your role as a part of the music community of New Orleans?

I’m the ambassador of bounce music. I’m the person who took bounce music outside of New Orleans into the forefront of the world. I took it to the next level where I started making people aware of what we do here in New Orleans with bounce music, the culture of it and how to party, you know what I’m sayin?

And what has that ambassadorship been like?

It’s been a journey. It has been some ups and it has been some downs. Being a black gay artist that come from a little neighborhood here in New Orleans, it’s had its pros and its cons. Some shows are better than others. Some shows I’ve had to perform for a lower amount of money. But to get my message across and to represent New Orleans, I can truly say that I have worked hard to get to the point where I’m at now.

And what is that message that you’re spreading?

That no matter what walk of life you are, we all can come together and have a good time and party. Teaching the power of ass shaking. I’m spreading the gospel of ass.

As I understand, musically you present yourself as a woman but you do still identify as a man. What is that juxtaposition like or am I understanding it incorrectly?

A lot of people ask, what is your pronoun? What do you prefer to be called? I tell them it doesn’t matter because I know who I am. Some people say she, some people say he. My family calls me Freddie, my fans call me Freedia. When people say he or she, it doesn’t matter because I know who I am and I’m comfortable with who I am. My fans prefer to say she, my family still says he. They respect me either way. I’m comfortable in my own skin, you know what I’m sayin? I’m a black, gay male. I wear hair and I wear makeup and I wear nails but I don’t wear women’s clothing or women’s shoes so I’m just me. I tell they all the time, I’m just me. I’m in my own lane. I been carrying a purse since I was a butch boy with a haircut.

Have you always been comfortable with who you are?

Not in the beginning. Not when I was really young. I had issues being picked on and being called names and stuff but when my mom started to back me up and told me to be who I wanted to be and stand strong and get out there and show them who you are, I started to be more comfortable with myself. Once the person who borned me accepted me, I could care less what the world had to say.

When you were younger, do you remember some of the things you were told about behavioral expectations according to your gender?

They would call me fat sissy. They would call me faggot. They would say all of the derogatory things to bring my spirit down and one day I thought, “How can I flip this when somebody come to me with something negative. So when they called me sissy I would say back to them, “Thank you!” and wave at them. It would mess them up because they didn’t expect me to accept it. Once I started to accept it and embrace it, my whole world changed. There was no way you could pick on me or you thought you could get a bad reaction out of me. That didn’t happen.

Do you find yourself being treated in sexist ways?

Sometimes I feel like I didn’t get that gig because I was gay but it doesn’t happen as much anymore. You might come across that once or twice every blue moon or whatever. But I do feel like sometimes I am treated differently than a straight artist. They might want to pay the straight artist $40,000 and they might want to pay the gay artist $5,000 just because we’re not the same or not equal or on the same level.

How does being treated in a sexist way make you feel?

It makes me want to go harder. It makes me want to let people know I am human. I can do whatever you can do or even better. I want to remain to be iconic and represent New Orleans and the culture of bounce music. It just makes me want to go harder and show them who I really am. And I do it without being apologetic about being myself.

Do you always notice when individuals are acting in a sexist way?

I’d be able to point it out right away. I can tell when somebody is standoffish because I’m gay. You can tell when somebody is looking at you different because you’re gay. You can tell when somebody is even just talking about you because you’re gay. I can pick up on it because I’ve been doing it for so long now.

Is that easier now than it used to be?

I’ve been doing it for so long now and as you grow old, you get wiser. You started to identify the different groups of people who should be around and who accept it and who don’t accept it. But for me, I don’t try to ever make no one feel uncomfortable. I try to remain myself but I also try to be humble and not boisterous about my sexuality, you know what I’m sayin? I like to go into a room and make everybody feel comfortable. I don’t throw my sex at nobody or my sexuality at nobody. I’m gay but I don’t do all the “queer” stuff like snapping my fingers and talking in a certain way. I just do me.

Are there any particular stereotype of men or of women that just drive you insane?

To each his own so no, not really. If they don’t cross my path the wrong way they’re not bothering me.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

I just want people to understand that no matter what you identify as, your sex, who you choose to love, do it from the heart. It’s important to do it from the heart. And don’t judge people on their sexuality or their sexual preference. We all have our own individual lives and people need to respect other’s beings and what they choose to do with their lives. We all have to come to judgement day at one given moment but you’re not the judge. We’re not the judges. We are the people. So I continue to spread the message that love is for everyone no matter what walk of life, what your sex, region, or whatever. Enjoy life.