(PBS) – The title of queen doesn’t come easy. Which is why music artist Big Freedia credits her 15-year career for the moniker, “Queen of Bounce,” the distinct sub-genre of hip-hop originating from New Orleans. But not even her household name status within the scene or a popular reality show, now gearing up for season 5, could prepare her for the call of a lifetime. And now, she’s riding high on the heels of her feature in Beyoncé’s hugely popular “Formation.”
The New Orleans native was born Frederick Ross. And although she’s a man who prefers female pronouns for her stage name, she rejects labels like transgender and the phrase “sissy bounce” — a term used to describe a brand of the music associated with the queer community. “Bounce is for everyone,” she says. And sexuality has very little to do with her art. Instead, she chooses to be nothing more than herself, and unapologetically so.
The fans love her for it. Her newest single released this week is called “I Heard,” and is an ode to them. “It’s saying that I hear how people are looking for me all around the world in different places now,” she said. “You don’t have to look for me anymore. I have arrived. The queen is here.”
And as the Queen of Bounce becomes more recognizable globally she says her message is still the same. “No matter how big I continue to get, I will remain humble and continue to be me,” she said. “I will always be Big Freedia, the Queen Diva responsible for taking this music to the forefront of the world. And I’m proud to represent New Orleans bounce culture.”
Ahead of the single’s release, she talked to me about the origins of bounce and staying true to herself and her southern roots.
Read the full story here.