A conversation with the Queen: Big Freedia talks being gay in hip hop

GLAAD recently took a staff field trip to Herald Square to watch Big Freedia break a world record. We were then lucky enough to sit down with the Queen of Bounce and chat with her about hip hop's growing acceptance of LGBT people, her mom's support and RuPaul. Check it out below.

GLAAD: How do you feel about how you've gained more mainstream fame, especially in the past year, after being in the hip hop game for so long?

Big Freedia: It feels really amazing that being black and gay and from New Orleans and for something that you believe in so long is now in the limelight and the mainstream. I'm very excited.

What do you see as bounce's place in the greater context of hip hop?

Well it definitely plays a big part of it because it's similar to hip hop. A lot of the artists who started here in New Orleans, especially like Lil Wayne and Juvenile, started in bounce music before they transformed into hip hop. 

Going off on that, how do you feel you've been received as an openly gay person in hip hop, and do you think that world is changing as far as how gay people are seen?

I definitely think that the world is changing at how gay people are looked at. Especially with gay marriage, and how all the different rappers approve of gay marriage. New Orleans definitely changing that aspect of things. And no, I don't have any issues with the hip hop world or them judging me and wanting to point their issues at me. 

I've heard you reject the term "sissy bounce," can you explain why?

Right, there is no sexual orientation in bounce. We only call it bounce here in New Orleans, we don't separate it.  There are other artists in the game that aren't gay. And most of the time when artists come up they say, "Oh you do sissy bounce," when they're doing just bounce music. We never did separate it here in New Orleans. 

I was there when you broke the record and I saw that your mom seems pretty supportive. Has this always been true? What about the rest of your family? 

Oh yeah, most definitely. My mom supported me in everything I've ever done and that's why I've gone forward with her support and her encouraging me to be positive and stay out of trouble. So, my mom has had a big influence on where I'm at today as my support system. 

It's pretty great that Fuse is giving such a big platform to an LGBT person of color. How did that collaboration come about? 

Well, you know we shopped a reality show to different places. World of Wonder was the production company behind the actual show and they shopped it to Fuse and Fuse was the network that actually picked it up. I'm grateful to Fuse and everybody over there that believed in this show and made it happen. 

I loved the video for Peanut Butter. How did the collaboration with RuPaul come about? 

I don't know exactly how it came about but when I got the call from Ru himself he said he had been trying to call me and trying to reach me. Our shows are put on by the same production company, which is World of Wonder, so we have a connection because of that.

What message do you want to send to your young gay fans?

Believe in yourself, never give up, follow your dreams, be who you are, be firm in who you are. Just keep pushing for your accomplishments. Be positive and be alert. There are so many messages I could send to them, but those are just a few. 

What's next for you?

That's a long journey that I'm on and God knows there are so many things and opportunities happening right now. It's just a ride and a wave that Big Freedia is on, so just follow me. There are so many things happening: New album, new EP, the TV show, touring, my new sunglasses line. There are so many things happening right now. 

You can catch Freedia's new show on Fuse, which premieres October 2nd