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Big Freedia explains why she's not boycotting North Carolina festival

The Queen Diva pledges to ‘turn it up’ in a stand against discrimination

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Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Big Freedia — the bounce rapper, twerking pioneer, and self-proclaimed Queen Diva — won’t be joining the growing list of artists who have canceled performances in North Carolina to protest the state’s controversial “bathroom bill,” which bars transgender people from choosing restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

It’s not that Freedia, who is scheduled to perform at the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh in September, doesn’t oppose House Bill 2 — she does. But she has also decided to take a stand in her own way.

“I support any artist who decides to cancel shows in North Carolina due to the new discriminatory bathroom law,” Freedia told EW in an exclusive statement. “I will perform in North Carolina at Hopscotch Festival because I do not want to let down my fans. We will turn it up and show the governor and the state that Big Freedia stands against discrimination!”

Freedia, who was born Freddie Ross Jr. and identifies as a gay man but prefers to be identified with feminine pronouns, isn’t the only Hopscotch performer whose very presence at the festival can be seen as a rebuke to HB2. Lavender Country, who are widely considered one of the first openly gay country bands, were the first act announced for this year’s lineup.

Among the musicians who have recently canceled North Carolina concerts over HB2 are Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas.

With additional reporting by Jessica Goodman