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How Big Freedia Is Getting Through Lockdown and Losing Her Mom

Big Freedia, "God Save the Queen Diva"

The Queen of Bounce discusses her memoir God Save the Queen Diva! and how she's creating art in a time of social-distancing.

With the pandemic lockdown stretching into 2021, we're more in need of inspiration than ever. Fortunately for hip-hop fans -- or anyone looking for an uplifting story -- musician Big Freedia has released her memoir God Save the Queen Diva! in paperback, the perfect addition to your quarantine reading list.

"Honestly, the book has got a new life," she said in a recent interview on our Instagram Live. "A lot of people have been stuck inside due to COVID, and I'm getting a lot more readers and people who know my story, and loving to take that emotional ride with me."

The gender-bending Queen of Bounce talked with The Advocate's Daniel Reynolds about how COVID-19 has affected her and how she's getting through it. "I'm just taking it one day at a time, as we all are, and just doing what I can do. When work comes I work, and otherwise, I'm either trying to create new work or in a studio making new music."

Among those projects was her "Rona Rona" music video, educating fans on the pandemic and what they need to do.

"Being a public figure, making people aware of the things that's going on... Sometimes they may not listen to the news, they may not listen to other platforms. Being that I have a music platform, it can reach people. Some of the social issues that's going on in the world, I want to make sure that I'm definitely involved and doing my part."

She also shared the emotional journey of writing God Save the Queen Diva!, "the memoir that chronicles the life of a poor choir boy from New Orleans who survived poverty, drugs, and bullying to become a world-famous musical performer and reality TV personality," which ended up being a difficult but therapeutic experience for her.

(EXCERPT: Big Freedia's Sexual Awakening, in Her Own Words)

"As you put your story down on paper, you really get a chance to look back at it and read it and process it. The book has been a great process for me."

The chapter about losing her mom was especially challenging. "My mom was my biggest cheerleader and my biggest supporter. Anything I wanted to do, she was heavily involved in my life and a big inspiration in my life. Losing her and having to write it down and relive those memories of all the good times and the bad times that me and my mom had, I can say that all of it was difficult."

But there's a lot of joy and inspiration to Big Freedia's story too, as she chronicles the growth of bounce music and her rise to fame. "It's a sub-genre of hip hop, it's a New Orleans-based music, it's up-tempo, heavy-bass, call-and-response type music. Has a lot to do with the shaking of the ass and empowering a lot of dancing. I love what I do, and I've been doing it for a very long time, and my responsibility and my role in this game has been bringing the culture of bounce music and teaching dance classes and bringing the flavor of New Orleans all around the world."

Watch the full interview below, and keep an eye on our IGTV channel for more interviews and live events.

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Christine Linnell