Big Freedia has rescheduled a Hattiesburg, Mississippi concert that was initially canceled over twerking concerns. On March 25th, Big Freedia’s Twerkloose invades Hattiesburg’s Dollar Box Showroom, just over a month after the Queen of New Orleans Bounce’s concert was nixed at that same venue after the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) threatened to fine the venue if the performance proceeded.
After clarifying what twerking is to the ABC, the concert has been given the go-ahead. “I’m just very relieved that the State Alcohol Beverage Control decided my show would not be breaking any laws and we can return,” Big Freedia tells Rolling Stone. “I got fans in Hattiesburg and I don’t want to let them down. Let the Twerking begin!”
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported in February that the Dollar Box Showroom canceled Freedia’s gig after the ABC warned the venue owner that the concert could result in substantial fines. “The word gyrating was in there,” club owner Ben Shemper said. “[The ABC] made it sound like it was some kind of strip show or whatever.”
The Dollar Box Showroom serves alcohol, which under Mississippi law is prohibited at places that host strip shows. Ultimately, it was the venue, and not the Alcohol Beverage Control, that canceled the gig.
However, after explaining to the ABC that twerking and “gyrating” does not necessarily constitute “nudity and sexual conduct,” the concert was rescheduled, with Big Freedia anointing the event the “First Annual International Twerk Day.”
“Our laws have been slower to change than the rest of the country,” Shemper tells Rolling Stone. “So I’m happy that we all came to an agreement and that Big Freedia can return. We are making history, and I’m excited to be a part of it.”