Big Freedia Sues Former Choreographer For Ownership of Dance Moves, Songs, Videos

Big Freedia
Scott Legato /
– Big Freedia
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Fairgrounds Racecourse, New Orleans, La.

Influential New Orleans bounce musician Big Freedia filed a lawsuit against a former collaborator Nov. 20 seeking monetary damages and copyright ownership of dance moves, songs, and videos, according to the Times-Picayune.

In the lawsuit, Freedia, whose legal name is Freddie Ross Jr., alleges choreographer Wilberto Dejarnetti of multiple transgressions that occurred while they were collaborating on Freedia’s Fuse show “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce.”

Among the most serious is Freedia’s claim that Dejarnetti has sought royalties for dance moves the two workshopped together — and for which Freedia already compensated Dejarnetti. Freedia’s team says Dejarnetti’s contributions, deployed on music videos for songs including “Just Be Free Intro,” “NO Bounce,” and “Explode,” “were largely based on and derivative of traditional ‘bounce’ dance movements and other routines Mr. Ross and his dancers had been employing for years.”

The lawsuit additionally seeks to rebut Dejarnetti’s claims that he co-wrote some of Freedia’s songs and to remedy the choreographer’s withholding of videos Freedia hired him to produce.

The lawsuit says Freedia ended her relationship with Dejarnetti in 2017 due to “erratic” behavior and “his temperamental nature,” but that “at this point, Mr. Ross has run out of options for amicable resolution and has no further patience with Mr. Dejarnetti’s antics.”

With the lawsuit, Freedia seeks copyright ownership of her choreography and music, pending videos in Dejarnetti’s possession, and monetary damages.

The legal action comes as Big Freedia concludes a co-headlining fall tour with Tank and the Bangas. The two acts next perform at Varsity Theatre in Baton Rouge, La., on Nov. 30.