Big Freedia, openly gay rapper, reality star, and self-proclaimed “Queen of Bounce,” is a big fan of breaking down barriers. And butts. And now, fresh off of her biggest mainstream exposure to date—That’s Freedia you hear talking about cornbread and collard greens on Beyoncé’s ”Formation”—she’s fighting authorities in Mississippi for the freedom to shake what your mama gave you.
The Guardian provides an overview of Freedia’s brush with local authorities in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, who shut down one of her shows earlier this month on the pretense that it violated a decades-old law prohibiting the intersection of lascivious shaking and hard liquor. (Her entourage of scantily-clad professional twerkers is a big part of Big Freedia’s act.) According to Mississippi’s head of beverage control, “You can’t wear a thong … And you cannot simulate a sex act“ at a venue that sells liquor in the so-called “Hospitality State,” although that doesn’t sound very hospitable at all. (The word “gyrating” was specifically invoked.) And while Freedia’s performed in Hattiesburg before, the authorities were notified of this particular potential fun-code violation after watching videos of her on YouTube, having presumably only recently heard of her.
Following the cancelation, Freedia posted on her Facebook page:
I would just like to apologize to all my fans in Mississippi for my show being cancelled tonight due to the state…
This sparked a wave of outrage among fans, as well as media outlets who wanted to know why the booty could rock it everywhere except the great state of Mississippi. Freedia’s manager also got in touch, and discovered that the burden of any fines levied for the performance would be borne by the venue, which also could lose its liquor license.
Jumping on the opportunity for a prescient pop-culture reference, a Footloose-themed replacement show, dubbed “Twerkloose,” has been booked for March. It’ll be interesting to see if the bad press drives ABC (Alcohol and Beverage Control) officials away, or of they stand in the back of the room, arms folded, taking scrupulous notes on the coverage-to-gyration ratio of the crowd’s butts. It’ll also be interesting to note what happens the next time Miley Cyrus brings her act to Mississippi, and if local officials prohibit twerking there as well. You know, to be fair.