#QueerHeroes Day 9.
Big Freedia is the queen of New Orleans.
As a child, she was inspired by Salt-N-Pepa and the legendary queer artist Sylvester.
Like Sylvester, her first exposure to music was in her church choir. She became skilled in piano as well.
In the late 90s, she began performing as a backup dancer for the drag queen Katey Redd—who also introduced her to the New Orleans hip hop genre Bounce.
In the wake of Katrina in 2005, she was displaced to Texas where she began performing Bounce shows for the locals, spreading the genre’s influence throughout the South.
She came back to New Orleans, performing as many as ten shows a week while the city was fighting to come back. Before long, she was a local celebrity.
In 2010, she released Big Freedia Hitz Vol. 1 on her own label. By that summer, she was on tour with features in the New York Times, the Village Voice, and appearances at the MoMa and on late night television shows.
In 2016, her voice became famous all over the world when it was featured in Beyoncé’s hit single Formation.
In addition to all this, she continues to run an interior design business and maintains her deep roots in New Orleans.
I got to see her perform in New Orleans last summer and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a city more connected to a performer and vice versa.