The recent issues that Big Freedia has been facing regarding being on the screen speaks to a bigger problem about representation for minorities. Specifically, the LGBT community knows this struggle all too well. We are 'loved' for what we create so long as it assists straight people in their endeavors. But if we try to create space for ourselves to be represented and seen authentically, that's when we get the push back. After all (from their control over things like marriage to tv shows) straight people have proven that they fit right into any other oppressive group: power becomes threatening to them when it moves from being owned to being shared.
Big Freedia has been pioneering and shaping the sound of bounce since she got on the goddamn scene in the late 90s. She brought the previously solely underground genre to new heights in the mainstream world. We understand the work that she has done...so it's simply time to put some respek on her name. Plain and simple.
Many straight people do this with queer people in general and it's similar to how many white people operate with blacks. Our art is good enough to "yasss, honey" to and "get your life" to...but when it's time to be seen, people want to give us seats in the back, or cameos that are quick enough not to upset their homophobic audience. Some straight people's whole careers thrive off of our work, creativity, artistry, sweat, tears and innovation, so why is it that we always have to fight to be in the spotlight?
The homophobia JUMPS out! Even straight men try to degrade us using the very lingo we came up with. Some of your favorite celebrities have gay men doing EVERYTHING for them from choreography, creative direction, makeup, to shoe-shining. Yet when it's time for these same celebrities to "read" someone, homophobic insults are the only things to be heard. We're good enough to take ideas and art from, but we never seem good enough to be seen, properly heard, and respected.
It's awesome to get a paycheck. She even says recently that she's "happy with the check." I think part of the reason that Big Freedia hasn't been as forceful as she wants to be when talking about these situations is that she doesn't want to fuck her money up. She says just enough for me to understand exactly where she is coming from, though. She gets her point across and you can see that she is essentially demanding the respect that she feels she deserves. Checks are cute but visibility drives home the fact that we matter--not just our product. It is affirming.
She also says she was the one who had to call Drake to be in his newest video. He was welcoming and she said "He wanted me to rock the mic and crowd all night." It's typical. Straight people want you to rock the mic all and the crowd and their careers all night long. They'll (maybe) show you for a couple seconds, pay you so you can stfu and then you'll be on your merry way while they continue to profit off of ideas you pioneered. Big Freedia obviously sees the pattern (because it isn't just Drake who's guilty) and she goes on to say that "no matter if you're a gay artist--[...]we can be able to be there just as anyone else."
Please, I beg, learn from this. Every time I think about these issues, I also think about when niggas invited B.Scott to host one of those BET red carpets but wanted to change how he looked/presented himself. Y'all are grown ass people, it's time to mature and move from only appreciating what we can do for you all, to actually appreciating who we ARE.
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