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    Big Freedia bounces to the big time
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

Gay New Orleans rapper Big Freedia was twerking while Miley Cyrus was still in diapers—only it was called "bounce." This movement was underground, but thanks to artists like Freedia it became big following his lively concerts and several albums.

He was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award, featured on many television shows and then shook all the way to South by Southwest.

His new reality show on Fuse is set to bring him into the spotlight in a personal and professional way. Windy City Times talked with him before the big debut of the series.

Windy City Times: Hi, Freedia. I saw you perform in concert at the Empty Bottle a while ago.

Big Freedia: Oh yeah. I love the Empty Bottle.

WCT: That was a blast!

Read more story below....

Big Freedia: It was.

WCT: I think people need to see you perform live to get the full effect.

Big Freedia: Definitely.

WCT: What made you decide to make a reality show?

Big Freedia: My manager, Melvin Foley, decided my life was a story and he wanted the world to see my life about the whole bounce movement phenomenon. He started to shop around to different places, him and my other manager, Renee Moncado. The production company that decided to pick it up was World of Wonder. Fuse was the network that is running it. That is how the creation of it came about.

WCT: How was it working with Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, who created Worlds of Wonder?

Big Freedia: It was amazing. The executive producer and I got along really well. We connected on many different levels to make things happen. The whole staff was amazing to work with.

It was not easy to allow cameras to enter into your life all the time but when get used to each other we forgot the cameras were even there.

WCT: The show deals with you being more mainstream. Was that a goal of yours?

Big Freedia: Oh, yes, most definitely—to keep on getting more mainstream and working so hard. It makes things easier with the clearance of the music and all of that. I have been working super-hard because there are so many opportunities within mainstream music world that will keep me working.

WCT: The show depicts your childhood. Can you talk a bit about that?

Big Freedia: Yes, growing up in New Orleans was a bit of a challenge, especially being Black, gay and young. Things were tough for me. I learned a lot in growing up here. It made me a strong individual. I learned what I believe in. It created who I am today.

WCT: Are you having a big party to celebrate the show?

Big Freedia: We are having a party in New York where we will get over 200 people to twerk in the Times Square. That will be exciting.

In New Orleans we will have a party where people get to walk the red carpet and take some pictures with me. So [there will be] two big parties in New York and New Orleans.

WCT: You have a new album called Queen of Bounce. Can you explain the difference between twerk and bounce?

Big Freedia: "Bounce" is the overall vocabulary word and "twerking" is just one of the words in the vocabulary. A lot of people use twerk but we shake here in New Orleans. We have been shaking. There are so many words that we use. We pounce, we wobble, we wiggle, we bend over, we bust open! That being said, "twerk" is just one of the words in our vocabulary.

WCT: I watched your "Duffy" video. It was wild.

Big Freedia: Thank you.

WCT: Have you ever been hurt twerking it? You bring many people up onstage, so any accidents?

Big Freedia: I have never hurt myself onstage. I maybe have pulled a muscle but that still didn't stop the show.

WCT: You toured with the band Postal Service?

Big Freedia: It was very interesting the whole tour long!

WCT: How was making the song "Peanut Butter" with RuPaul?

Big Freedia: That was amazing. Just getting a phone call from RuPaul to say he wanted to work with me and he liked my music was just enough right there but to actually meet him in person and do the video was a great experience.

WCT: So you have more music coming out?

Big Freedia: Yes; a new EP and a new album will be coming out right behind. This is all to promote while the show is going on. My fall tour is going to happen so we have a lot going on.

WCT: Are you coming to Chicago soon?

Big Freedia: Hopefully on this tour; I want it to be on the list.

WCT: I would be in front row but I might get knocked down.

Big Freedia: You just have to stand your ground.

WCT: Well, you stand your ground, too, and don't change for anyone. You have a story that is important for people to see.

Big Freedia: Oh, I won't change. I love what I do. I am a humble spirit. God has definitely blessed me in so many different ways. I work very hard to stay who I am and strong on what I believe in. I will stand firm.

For more on Big Freedia, visit www.bigfredia.com and follow him on www.fuse.tv .

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