Bourbon Street is set to invade South Street in grand and boisterous fashion when out rapper, designer and TV personality Big Freedia teams up with funk/R&B group Tank and The Bangas for a tour that comes through Philly Oct. 20.
“Being that we are both from New Orleans, we vibe together a lot,” Freedia said of the pairing of the acts. “We have a lot of fans in common. They first started touring with me, so they were into my audience first.”
Over the last two decades, Big Freedia has made a name for herself helping to popularize the hip-hop subgenre of bounce music, appearing on numerous reality and TV shows (HBO’s “Treme,” “Love & Hip-Hop Hollywood,” “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce”) and collaborating with Beyoncé on her smash hit single, “Formation,” and Drake on his single “Nice For What.”
Along the way, she has gone from an underground sensation in her native New Orleans to national stardom, all the while pushing the boundaries of sexuality and gender in the often cisgender-and male-dominated worlds of rap and R&B.
“I’m a voice for different communities,” Freedia said of her music and widening appeal. “Be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do. It’s a much broader mission for me to encourage people all over, not just the LGBTQ community, but heterosexuals as well, to live out their life loud and proud.”
Freedia said that while she has broken down some barriers and achieved a level of success, she has to reach farther both for herself and other queer music artists.
“It’s so-so,” she said about acceptance of LGBT artists in hip-hop and R&B. “I have fans all over. I definitely have carved out a path for myself, but there is still so much more room to grow. Some labels are LGBTQ-friendly and have artists on their rosters that may be whatever. I have a record label pushing me, so definitely things are changing. But you have to put your groundwork in and that may take a while. I hustled for many, many years to be able to be in the position that I am in.”
Big Freedia performs 9 p.m. Oct. 20 at TLA, 334 South St. For more information or tickets, call 215-922-1011 or visit www.bigfreedia.com.