Only a few weeks after Big Freedia resolved her battle with Hattiesburg over a wrongly cancelled performance, which is now back on, the New Orleans hip-hop artist has become embroiled in a battle of a different kind.
On Wednesday, March 16, Freedia pleaded guilty to the theft of about $35,000 in Section 8 low-income housing vouchers from 2010 to 2014, New Orleans TV station WWL reports. Officials released her on a $25,000 bond, with her sentencing scheduled for Thursday, June 16. Freedia now faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine in addition to the value of the vouchers.
According to WWL reporter David Hammer, federal prosecutors repeatedly referred to Freedia, a prominent member of the LGBTQ community who identifies as a woman, in masculine terms, as her legal name is Freddie Ross Jr.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, on the other hand, first asked Freedia how the court should address her and chose to refer to her as "Ms. Ross" despite her statement that she had no preference.
Freedia admitted to the court that from February 2011 to December 2014, she received $695 per month in federal housing vouchers by claiming only $12,000 to $14,400 in assets annually, well below the $21,700 to receive Section 8 assistance.
When Africk asked if Freedia understood that her crime went far beyond financial oversight, she said that she did and accepted full responsibility.
As of press time, Big Freedia hasn't made any statement to suggest that her legal situation will affect her performances at Martin's Restaurant & Bar in Jackson on Thursday, March 24, and at the Dollar Box Showroom in Hattiesburg on Friday, March 25.
After 18 years in the international alternative music scene, Motion City Soundtrack has announced that the band will enter an indefinite hiatus following its upcoming 29-date United States tour.
The tour will begin May 5 in Portland and end June 24 in Minneapolis, the city where vocalist Justin Pierre and guitarist Joshua Cain, the two remaining founding members, first began playing together as Motion City Soundtrack in 1997. Over the course of the band's career, Pierre and his cohorts released six studio albums, the most notable being 2007's "Even If It Kills Me," which reached No. 16 on the Billboard Charts, and 2010's "My Dinosaur Life," which debuted at No. 15. The group released its final album, "Panic Stations," on Sept. 18, 2015.
"It has been a quiet winter for us," the band said in a press release. "We've had some time at home after a very busy 2015. With this time, we've been able to think about the past, present and future of Motion City Soundtrack.
"All of this thinking has led to several conversations, and these conversations have led us to a very bittersweet realization: We have no idea what the future holds, but for now we are done. Needless to say, we're feeling all the feels - you may be, as well. If so, or if you've ever been touched by our music, we ask you to come out and sing along with us one last time in 2016."
For more information, visit motioncitysoundtrack.com.
Fresh off a controversy in Hattiesburg, in which the owner of the Dollar Box Showroom said he was pressured to cancel her show, Big Freedia is returning to Mississippi with a vengeance. In what the New Orleans bounce artist is calling "Twerkloose" performances, her manager Reid Martin told the JFP today that they have added a March 24 show at Martin's in Jackson, the day before the rescheduled Hattiesburg performance.
Get ready, Jackson.
Amidst the general political chaos of the presidential primaries and visits from Bill Clinton and Donald "Drumpf" Trump, Grammy Award winner CeeLo Green also made a stop in the city of Jackson. As is usually the case with the eccentric singer and songwriter, he didn't come alone.
Wherever Green pops up, whether it's a TV appearance or an interview, his Yorkshire terrier, Harrison Zulander, or "Zu" for short, is usually tagging along and looking simultaneously nonplussed and adorable. He even came to Jackson for Green's performance at Hal & Mal's on Tuesday, March 8.
Zu isn't just a tag-along trophy pet, however. When not eliciting smiles from famous folk such as Ashanti, Steve Aoki and Blake Shelton, he's a social-media socialite, with more than 1,400 followers on his Instagram and another 254 followers on his Twitter.
The Yorkie is also a spokes-puppy and model for Los Angeles-based Dogs of Glamour. Zu is featured prominently on the website for the high-end canine accessories brand, rocking pieces from the Dogs of Glamour product line, such as jackets, t-shirts and classy carrier bags.
Oh, and if anyone was curious, Zu is available for "speaking" engagements.