Big Freedia bounces into Gasparilla Music Festival and beyond

By : Gregg Shapiro
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Music has always been an escape for Big Freedia, the out and proud Queen of Bounce. The New Orleans-based entertainer is a worldwide ambassador of bounce music, indigenous hip hop characterized by Mardi Gras Indian chants, energetic call-and-response vocals, heavy bass and up-tempo beats.

Freedia, who grew up singing in church choirs and admiring artists like Patti LaBelle and the openly gay “Queen of Disco” Sylvester, was first introduced to bounce music by drag entertainer Katey Red in the late 90s. Red is considered the first transgender emcee to rise to prominence in New Orleans and is credited with creating the LGBTQ-inclusive subgenre sissy bounce. She also welcomed Freedia as her backup dancer.

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