Above: A scene from last night's Neumos show
In the “School House Bounce” episode from Big Freedia’s Fuse TV reality show, the New Orleans rapper decides to put on a bounce show for children.
“Bounce is for everybody,” Big Freedia says after a radio host criticizes the idea.
Later in the episode, after much handwringing and nervousness, Freedia’s children’s show goes off smashingly. Kids mob the stage and twerk in joyous droves. It’s an incredible thing to behold.
“Bounce is such a natural thing, even from the babies,” Big Freedia’s dancer Tootie says.
Last night at a packed Neumos, I witnessed one of the most diverse crowds I’ve ever seen at a show in Seattle. Old people, young people, black people, white people, gay, straight, men and women all came together to listen to Big Freedia tell them to shake their ass. Everyone obliged. They grinned and bounced together onstage, offstage, and precariously on some of the sound equipment.
The fact that Big Freedia’s children’s show went so well isn’t surprising. Her performances are essentially children’s shows for adults, a more butt-centric version of a segment The Wiggles or Yo Gabba Gabba might include in an episode. At the show last night, it didn’t matter who you were or where you came from—when Big Freedia told you to bounce your Azz Everywhere, everyone gleefully did so. Everyone turned into a child again, a wound up ball of energy unleashed for movement’s sake.
As I left the show, two people outside were having a conversation about what just happened. “You know, I don’t think it’s about twerking,” the man said. “It’s just about dancing. It’s about moving.”
At a very basic level, humans just want to move around. There are few people who will make you feel your ecstatic, kinetic humanity more than Big Freedia.