In Praise of Big Freedia

Big Freedia Queen of Bounce is back tonight on Fuse, and if I’ve learned anything about bingeing Freedia, it’s that it’s the reality TV your summer deserves.

The vast scope of my knowledge about Big Freedia’s life is courtesy of God Save the Queen Diva!, Freedia’s memoir (written with Nicole Balin); you may already be familiar with Big Freedia, who is featured in Beyonce’s hit song “Formation.” When Freedia says in the book’s trailer that it’s inspiration, she’s not wrong. The memoir covers Freedia’s early life, the birth of the Queen Diva, and a comprehensive (albeit quick) history of bounce. The formation of sissy bounce is especially detailed, and it’s embarrassing to say that my years in Baltimore, during the height of its club scene left me without this knowledge.

After you’ve spent time with Freedia, via the memoir and the Fuse reality show, you’ll have a deeper respect for New Orleans, bounce, and twerking, the dance move that set the world on fire a few years ago and is deeply misunderstood. Twerking is a matter of self expression, and not a means of deriding Miley Cyrus.

It’s to Freedia and Balin’s credit that Freedia’s memoir is honest and sympathetic. And it’s worth noting that unlike other reality shows, Big Freedia‘s drama is mostly about Freedia’s career. Is the sound for the show good? Are the dancers bringing their all to the show? The in-fighting is not about who texted which rumors to who (looking at you, LC and Heidi) but how to move forward, bigger and better than the day before. As escapism reality television, you can’t get any better than that.

Big Freedia Queen of Bounce‘s season 5 premiere is tonight on Fuse at 11 p.m. ET. You can binge seasons 1-4 on Hulu.

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