Hip-Hop culture is wrapped up in innovative creation. Specifically when it comes to taking things from the past and making them new once again. There are several hundred songs that sample bits and pieces of influential sounds that catapult lesser known individuals into mainstream stardom. One of the most frequently sampled but forgotten voices is that of Big Freedia (born Frederick Ross).
If you are not familiar, Big Freedia is a sound maker in NOLA, and if you don’t know how to appreciate New Orleans bounce music, you might not know just how great she is. Unless, her voice were to be sampled by a well known artist. Someone of a Beyonce-esque, or a Drake type caliber. Oh wait, it has happened several times over. So why don’t we as the greater consumers of these products get to see her too?
Why is it that someone can be so well represented in the house party scene and not in the major mainstream circuit? I mean, I would imagine if you can rock the NOLA Jazz Festival a few times you would be on everyone’s television screens and on social media feeds almost daily. Except she already did that, with her reality show, Big Freedia Queen of Bounce. Yet and still, she does not get the visual representation she deserves.
Although I can not speaking for Drake or Queen Bey, (or anyone else who has sampled her music in the past two decades) it is nothing short of unfortunate. On April 6, 2018 Drake announced that he would be dropping new music. That next morning we were all blessed with the summer bop, “Nice For What”. The visual for the song depicts Hollywood’s influential women in the most powerful and supportive ways possible. If nothing else it reminds women everywhere, that they do not have to be beholden to any man potentially standing in the way of their own personal ‘glow up’. I am here for all things glowing, but, was disappointed to see that the visual had no Freedia.
Her voice starts the song off to the images of the actress Olivia Wilde sporting a gorgeous ball gown on a grand staircase. Not big Freedia! About halfway through (before the breakdown) the voice appears again with images of Swedish models Victoria Lejonhjärta and Elizabeth Lejonhjärta, again, not Big Freedia! As a matter of fact you don’t see Freedia at all. Similar to Yonce’s resounding calls to, “Get In Formation.” Freedia’s voice reminded us that she, in fact, “did not come to play with you hoes.” Yet again still no Queen Diva.
I’m sure there are plenty of things to be said about the under-representation of those in the LGBTQ community in music overall, one possible reason for Big Freedia’s physical absence in Hip-Hop could be attributed to this. Hip-Hop culture seems to still be growing in the lifestyle acceptance department. It could be related to the general unknown nature of New Orleans Bounce Music, or some other unspoken rule. Either way I could definitely use more of the Queen of Bounce.
Check her out at the links below:
Main Image Photo Credit: @CapturingNola
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