It was reported by the Associate Press that Big Freedia was charged with theft of government funds. According to the report, the New Orleans bounce Queen and star of Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce on Fuse has reportedly been falsely reporting income and illegally taking money from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Freedia has shared a statement with Pitchfork explaining that the situation has been an “oversight” on her part:
This is an incredibly unfortunate situation. I was on subsidized housing for many years before my financial situation changed. I quickly found myself in a new economic structure and, frankly, knew little about how to handle my money. It wasn’t until recently (after I had stopped receiving housing vouchers) that it became very clear I had received assistance to which I wasn’t entitled. It was an oversight—but one that I take full responsibility for. From the moment I was contacted by Government agents, I have fully cooperated and have already begun making arrangements to pay full restitution (of approximately $34,000).
Housing vouchers are a vital lifeline for many people I know in New Orleans and around the country, including struggling artists. I truly believe there needs to be more programs for artists and musicians to teach basic financial literacy and planning. Coming from where I came from, I know that I could have used that kind of assistance. I’m exploring ways to be a part of the solution in this area and am looking forward to putting this matter behind me.