November 20, 2013


Big Freedia: "I Want to Be a Role Model for All the Different People"

Ariel LeBeau for Fuse
Ariel LeBeau for Fuse

Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce offers a behind-the-scenes look at the New Orleans bounce artist, taking the viewer past the show and into the hard work and personal struggles that accompany Freedia's life. The performer chatted with Fuse from a tour bus en route to her next gig about the show, being a role model and what's in store for next year.

Were you hesitant about doing a reality show when first approached?

I was definitely a little hesitant of doing it because it’s people being allowed to come deep into my world and get to see me on a different level. It was all fine and dandy when my manager first said, “Okay, we’re going to go shop your reality show.” But once it actually started happening, and the groundwork started moving quicker, I was like, “Oh sh-t, this is really happening.” It was a little nerve-wracking.

What made you change your mind?

It was a mixture of things. I had a lot of support on this from fans, and it really made me feel secure and comfortable about it and that it’d be a very good show. I didn’t really know where it would go or how I would come off. A lot of times in TV world, they get you to do so many things that you don’t know how they’re going to edit it, or where they’re going to put what at, so I was really nervous. Once I got used to the cameras, though, I forgot they were there, so I was just myself the whole time after the first month.

Was it weird to have cameras at first?

Oh, yes indeed. I was holding back a whole lot and not giving them much at all. I was kind of being a b-tch. Once they made me feel comfortable, I started letting down my guard a little bit and started letting them dig deeper.

There's a scene in the show where bounce rapper Sissy Nobby quits on a collaboration between himself, you and Katey Red and notes that he's resentful of your success. But it seems like you’re trying to lift the whole bounce scene.

I was! I did something that I didn’t have to do by putting them on the show. I wanted to give them exposure and to show them love and to let them know, “I’m bringing y’all with me. I’m not going to leave you all behind.” But in return, I got a lot of flack and hatred going on. It bothered me to a point because these are people that I’ve been looking out for for so long and when that happened with the kids song, it made me feel like, “Damn, we can work this out. Let’s pull together as a team and make this happen.”

You refused to do a tour called the "Go Homo" tour to avoid being pegged as a "gay rapper." Do you feel any sort of responsibility of being a role model?

I didn’t want to limit myself, but I do want to be a role model in all kinds of aspects. It's not just because of my sexuality that I’m representing the LGBT community. I want to be a role model for all the different people, straight or gay. No matter what you are, you can accomplish your dreams. You just have to work hard, stay humble and do what you do. I’m glad I didn’t do the "Go Homo" tour. It would’ve boxed me in as one category. I have a lot of gay supporters, but all the years I was grinding, I worked at nothing but straight clubs. I’ve always had a straight club base.

What's your plan for 2014?

My new sunglasses line with Chilli Beans is about to happen next March. I’ve been on the phone talking about Season 2 of the show. There’s all types of appearances and collaborations in the works. There’ll be a full album next year. Things are really about to happen, so I think 2014 will be even bigger than this year.

Be sure to tune in for the season finale of Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce tonight at 11p/10c on Fuse!