Today, reality TV star Big Freedia (real name Freddie Ross Jr.) appeared in federal court to plead guilty to stealing Section 8 vouchers. According to Tweets from WWL reporter David Hammer, Freedia was in court with reality TV cameras, presumably for her hit show Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce. Reportedly, she was given $25k bond for the theft. Her sentencing will take place on June 16th.
Earlier this month, Freedia issued a statement taking full responsibility but saying it was a mistake and not an intentional effort to steal federal assistance.
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.
Her statement added,
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.
Freddia is best known for for work in the New Orleans genre of hip hop called bounce music. She has been credited with helping popularize the genre, which was largely underground since developing in the early 1990s. In 2013, she got her own reality show on the fuse Channel which chronicles her life on tour and at home. On July 7, she released her autobiography “God Save The Queen Diva”.