Big Freedia (pronounced “FREE-da”) represents New Orleans in many ways. New Orleans’ history is a mix of many cultures and ethnicities, where Africans (both free and slaves), Native Americans, French and other European natives – all intermingled in one. This diversity has been expressed through the years with a wide variety of foods, art, and architecture and of course music that has the city with amazing vibes and a wonderful atmosphere. It’s like a 24 hour party just inviting you to take it all in. Big Freedia is kind of the same.
She was born Freddie Ross and came out to her mother at a young age. Freedia, who defines herself in the feminine (though says she doesn’t care how you call her since she’s comfortable in her own skin) is a lively and busy soul, who has her own interior design business during the day, and also has approximately six shows a week lined up.
She’s part of the New Orleans 20 year old Bounce Music scene. Bounce is New Orlean’s rapid fire party music most famous for its call and response style and for giving twerking to America. Freedia’s performances are short (about five songs) but can suck the energy, sexiness and lust out of you. Most of the time women are the main participants, bending their whole upper body down to the floor, while moving their lower body. Women particularly identify with the sound, the lyrics and the freedom which Big Freedia offers. It’s a very releasing and fun thing to do, which has made Big Freedia’s performances like one huge extravagant party.
Big Freedia was able to expose many more people to her music, dance and personality as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Like many, she was displaced, but she never gave up on trying to make people happy, and show them her love for the music. So she began preforming in Houston, Atlanta and Dallas and other places. Today we all know the sound, and more so the dance. But Big Freedia, with her abundance of persona (like New Orleans), did it many years before we even chose a name for it.
by Tali Chazan