Big Freedia is ’Queen of Bounce’
Nope, twerking’s not dead, although Miley Cyrus almost killed it. The more authentic and decades-long history of the booty-shaking dance move, also known as Bounce, is more fully supported through the driving crazy-making grooves of New Orleans sensation Big Freedia.
The openly gay performer shares music and more in "Queen of Bounce," his new Fuse TV eight-part program. The show aired October 2, and episodes are viewable online at www.fuse.tv
Big Freedia (whose real name is Freddy Ross) launched the show with a Manhattan Guiness World Record group twerk, which included more than 300 participants.
"Due to my wonderful network Fuse, the launch of the premiere party in New York won a world record for the most people twerking," said Big Freedia with pride. "That was fun."
What also pleased the musician is the timeliness of his show, and its ability to provide a more in-depth look at a misunderstood dance music subculture. Freedia’s been making music since 1999, when his first single was released before his debut album, 2003’s "Queen Diva."
"I definitely think the show will help shape ideas and put all of that in perspective," said Freedia of the documentary’s representation of the more truthful and amusing aspects of the sexy dance move and his life. "It’s a culture that’s been around for a long time. This is New Orleans. We have been doing this for a long time."
Big Freedia’s popularity in New Orleans is obvious in the series. Neighbors know him, kids giggle when they recognize him, yet all along he remains polite and reserved, offstage. After Hurricane Katrina, Freedia was displaced to Texas. Upon his return to New Orleans, Caesar’s, the first club to re-open, invited him to perform at weekly fundraisers called FEMA Fridays.
Of the vibrating dance moves that make nightclubs where he performs erupt into a dance craze, "The whole city does it and has been for years," said Freedia.
So, what about that huge controversy with Miley Cyrus butt-grinding against a Beetlejuice-costumed Robin Thicke at the now infamous MTV Music Video Awards? Is This another form of cultural appropriation, and should people critique her act for that, or simply because it was so crass and stupid?
"It’s okay for her to do it," Big Freedia replied of Cyrus’ limited dancing skills. "But it can be aggravating sometimes, especially if you been working so long in underground, and then people misrepresent it. And then someone in the mainstream takes it. It makes you very agitated as an artist."
Yet he also sees an up side. "But it also helps, to show the world something different. It opened another door for Bounce, even with her mistakes."
Big Freedia at the world record-setting twerk in New York City.
Fans new and old will be able to see Big Freedia live and in action as his tour starts