Photos and Review by Chandler Mays
Let’s face it, no matter your race, gender, creed, culture, or geography, all of humanity can come together and celebrate a single commonality: We all have asses… And they can shake. Big Freedia (pronounced “Freeda”) is an artist out of New Orleans that has played the largest role in popularizing a subgenre of hip-hop known as bounce music. Her particular style of bounce has been subcategorized as “sissy bounce”, which describes bounce music generally fronted by gay or transgendered black males.
Big Freedia is a rather tall, energetic, well-built gay man with loads more sass than than your average sass-master. She throws a live show that centers around celebrating the human booty in all its glory, and Monday’s performance at The Earl was nothing less than spectacular. She greeted the crowd with a rowdy, “I am the one and only Big Freedia, the Queen Diva, the Dick Eata, you betta believa!” As you can imagine, that got the people going. The best aspect of a Big Freedia concert is that every single human in the room is her backup dancer. She brings four or five dancers with her, but if you feel inspired to shake your ass for the Queen Diva, you will not only be encouraged, but demanded to do so. While performing her songs, which are essentially frantic, repetitive beats with heavy bass and glitchy vocal samples while she chants over the top in a tonally neutral zone, she will also help instruct you on how to properly shake your ass to bounce music. She would give you pointers like, “Hands on the ground! Ass down!” If Freedia likes you, she’ll point to you, which means you’re up, but you won’t be forced to join if you would prefer to remain a spectator.
While some might be turned off by the Queen Diva’s repetitive lyrics, you’ll immediately find that what she lacks in lyrical finesse is more than made up for in energy, which emanates from the ass. I can’t stress enough how much booty you will see at a Big Freedia show. The song “Azz Everywhere” essentially sums up her show, which is just a ridiculous amount of fun. Monday’s performance made me feel like I had been transported to a spiritual service at The First Assembly of Ass, and congregational ass-pirations were galvanized by all. The most important ass-pect (sorry, I can’t stop) of what Big Freedia is doing for hip-hop is the subverting of gender roles beyond all recognition. Working within an extremely homophobic genre, Big Freedia manages to bring together gays and straights over the celebration of booty. Straight males want to go to see the female ass, gay males want to go to see the male ass, and anyone that likes to shake their ass wants to go… well, to shake their ass.
God bless Big Freedia!
Full Gallery after the jump…