Auntie Bellum is excited to share our newest series, Well, I Declare. This series aims to highlight local Southern women who are forging their own paths and making change in their community. We ask them a bit about this & that to gain some insight into the women all around us, who are shaping the fabric of the South.
Big Freedia, the Queen Diva, is taking the world by storm. Freedia has gained tremendous popularity in the past several years, introducing New Orleans bounce music and the culture surrounding it to a vast spectrum of people who would have otherwise never known about the pounding drum line, catchy call-and-response lyrics, and empowering message to “just be free.” Big Freedia has expanded her brand from more than just music to include a hit television show on Fuse TV, “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” and an autobiography, “Big Freedia, God Save the Queen Diva.” This Saturday (April 16th) the City of Columbia will have the opportunity to experience one of her legendary performances at the Indie Grits Festival. Hope to see y’all there!
What is your present state of mind?
I’m am in a peaceful place. Lots of good things happening with me right now, lots of challenges, but I know I’ll always make it.
What does being a Southern woman mean to you?
It means killing people with kindness. There are lots of haters when you get famous, and I try to let it roll off my back.
Tell us about your parents/family growing up.
Family was very important part of my life and still is. But you need to read my memoir for that, God Save the Queen Diva! (Simon & Schuster) to read the details about Vera Ross and Freddie Sr. 😉
Has there been a defining moment that set you on your current life path?
There have been a few of those. Getting shot in the arm was definitely a wake up call. I was coming home from a club and some kid just walked up to my car and shot me. The doctors left the bullet in my arm, so it’s a daily reminder.
What is one change Southerners could make to improve our current culture?
I think it can still be conservative. A show of mine was recently cancelled in Mississippi because the state threatened arrest if my show (which includes twerking and shaking!) was lewd. The promoter got scared that he’d be fined so he cancelled the show. Crazy in 2016!
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Not to worry, everything is a lesson.
What is a current struggle in your life and how are you working to address it?
This is the time of year my mother passed away (2 years ago) so beginning weeks of April are always hard for me. I try to surround myself with family and that helps.
Who do you depend on for support in your life … and who depends on you?
My family—my sister, uncle, and my boyfriend. They all depend on me too. That’s what family is.
What brings you the most pleasure in your life right now and how has that changed over the years?
There’s not one thing, but I will always love to perform and see the audience faces and interact with them. There’s nothing like it!
You can read our first interview with Kyshona Armstrong here.