THE ICON: Big Freedia
THE LEGACY: If you haven’t heard of Big Freedia, you haven’t been paying attention. Born Freddie Ross Jr., she released her first studio album, “Queen Diva,” in 2003 and started getting national exposure in the years after 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, taking the hip-twitching, bump-and-grind gospel of New Orleans bounce music onto concert stages and TV shows. Along the way, the big, brash, in-your-face entertainer garnered a rave review in Rolling Stone and was given her own reality show, “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce” on Fuse TV. In a publisher’s release accompanying her 2015 autobiography, “God Save the Queen Diva,” Freedia described herself as a “gay, self-proclaimed mama’s boy who exploded onto the formerly underground Bounce music scene.” In the process, she’s become the uplifting and irresistible face of New Orleans’ hard-partying bounce music culture.
THE ARTIST: Gabriel Flores
THE INSPIRATION: “Being famous is a lot of work. It takes a lot of dedication to whatever you’re doing or whatever your craft may be. It definitely lives up to (the) words: more money, more problems.” — Big Freedia, to the Huffington Post