Big Freedia: The Reigning Queen of Bounce and Community Empowerment

1. Big Freedia has defied norms of hip-hop as an openly gay and gender-nonconforming artist who has become the reigning queen diva of bounce, one of hip-hop’s most energetic dance genres.
2. She has collaborated with a wide range of artists and genres, including creating a music video for Netflix’s “Queen Charlotte” and performing at an HBCU campus event that pays homage to Black campus royalty.
3. Big Freedia’s unique position as a mega star who still stays close to her community makes sense, given the way she earned her title as Queen of Bounce and her knack for uplifting her people in difficult circumstances through her music.

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A groundbreaking figure in hip-hop, Big Freedia has defied norms and remained a true queen diva of bounce, one of the genre’s most energetic dance genres that originated twerking. Despite her mainstream success, what sets her apart is that she has stayed in touch with her community and the true meaning of her role as an artist: to empower her people, especially those marginalized by society. During a recent event at Xavier University, she was tapped to create a music video and perform at a “Spring Waltz” for Netflix’s “Queen Charlotte,” a Shondaland “Bridgerton” prequel. The event paid homage to the rich tradition of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), celebrating campus royalty for their beauty, academic excellence, and decorum. Big Freedia, used to collaborating with people from all walks of life in different genres, embraced the event as a way to showcase how all aspects of Black tradition can be regal.

Throughout the night, Big Freedia showed how to own all of who one is, staying true to one’s culture in the face of more restrictive institutions. For many Black people, learning to do so can be a lifetime struggle, including for the character of Queen Charlotte in the “Bridgerton” prequel. However, for Big Freedia, there is no other way to be, no toning down or code-switching. As a queer performer in a notoriously homophobic genre like hip-hop, she has been able to look up to other queens being positive for the same community, such as trans woman media personality Ts Madison, trans bounce icon Katey Red, and Black gay Southern music legend Little Richard, whose open queerness surprisingly became an asset for his stardom in the 1950s as a founder of rock ‘n’ roll.

All of these things make Big Freedia stand out as a unique figure in hip-hop, solidifying her in the legacy of the genre. In the face of adversity and homophobia, she has become a beacon of light for her community, using her music to uplift those who may otherwise be marginalized. As she continues to navigate her path as an artist, Big Freedia remains a true queen diva – one who is comfortable in her own skin and has no qualms about lighting up a room with her unique flair and energy.