Even in a stadium full of fans, there is always the risk of encountering a hater.
Amazon Ashley, a backup dancer during Miley Cyrus's Bangerz Tour, discussed at the Pride Summit —organized by Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter — a heartbreaking instance when a Cyrus fan threw "a super big gulp of soda right in front of my face" during a live set.
The trans performer told the story to Big Freedia in order to ask for advice. "It broke my heart," Ashley said. "Being black and being transgender, we have it tenfold. Has anybody ever thrown a super big gulp soda in your face? How do you overcome that?"
"For me, I would have drunk the drink first of all," said the Queen of Bounce to the laughter and applause of the audience. "I’m very professional when I get onstage. When things happen like that for me, I probably would have flipped my hair and dropped into a dance or something — to throw that pressure."
Freedia — who identifies as gay but prefers the pronoun "she" — said the moment can be a teachable moment for the crowd. She added that, most times, it's the job of security to remove and make an example of the hateful offender.
However, Freedia concluded that the best response to hatred is not letting it dim her halo. "You just gotta keep being fierce and keep living your best life," the New Orleans music legend said. "Sometimes we’re gonna have things that try and knock us down — obstacles that we come into in life. I just keep praying and pushing."
Freedia spoke alongside Hayley Kiyoko, iLoveMakonnen, and Tegan & Sara on the Queer Headliners panel discussing the experiences of LGBTQ artists in the music industry. After the event at the 1 Hotel West Hollywood, Freedia wowed the after-party at the nearby Peppermint Club alongside Trixie Mattel and Dayo.
Watch the soda-free performance below.