New Orleans bounce queen Big Freedia has been making his way up the music ladder over the past year thanks to high-profile TV gigs, including his own hit Fuse reality TV show. Recently, Freedia hit the stage at the famous SXSW festival to rave reviews. Off the stage, the rising rap star sat down for a panel with former MTV host John Norris as he discussed the struggles of being a gay artist in music.
According to the Austin Chronicle, while sitting next to “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Sharon Needles and Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace, Freedia explained his early days in the Bounce scene and how he looked to queer and feminine artists from the past for inspiration.
“When I started my journey, I set out to change people’s minds in New Orleans about queens, and I did that,” said Freedia. “We had people like Bobby Marchan and Little Richard that performed before our time and opened the doors for our community.”
Freedia explained that it was his Bounce sister, Katey Red, who helped him turn the tide for gay and transgender artists in the New Orleans hip-hop scene. “But when me and Katey Red jumped in the game in 1998, Katey was the first transsexual male to come out with bounce music in New Orleans, and people were not ready for it. We stood firm on who we were and look where we are now,” said Freedia.
Indeed, Freedia is certainly at the forefront of the new wave of gay and trans celebs that are pushing through the glass ceiling to fame and success and we hope their efforts yield even bigger moments for all of the LGBT artists coming up, both with and behind him. – nicholas robinson