Freedia Got A Gun

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Freedia Got A Gun TV Poster Image
Uneven, fraught docu about devastation of gun violence.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The long term physical, psychological, economic, and social trauma the gun violence epidemic is having on the Black community in New Orleans addressed. Family, community, racism, gun violence, and generational deterioration is discussed. Tweens and teens disucss the impact the violence has on their lives in frank terms.

Positive Role Models

Freedia self-describes herself as a Black gay man who prefers the pronoun "she." The majority of perpetrators and victims of gun violence are male and Black. Many children treat gun violence as just a part of life. Freedia and other adults are shown speaking up against it and working with kids to help them acknowledge the widespread problem and find alternative paths.

Violence

The series addresses systematic gun violence and how it's impacting generations of Black children. Crimes like car thefts -- as well as shootings, deaths, and horrific wounds and injuries -- are described. Children talk about watching parents and friends get shot and killed, as well as their decisions to carry guns and commit crimes. There are images of shooting victims on ventilators and simulated images of gun shots going through glass. References are made to suicide, and homophobia is discussed. 

Sex
Language

Freedia refers to himself as a "sissy," which is what she and other members of the LGBTQ+ community have been called. 

Consumerism

Freedia’s music is sometimes featured. While not offered in a commercial context, there are references to products like Coca-Cola and logos for Adidas and Nike. Luxury cars such as Mercedes-Benz are also shown.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking is visible. Drug paraphernalia is visible on streets, and drug use and sales are discussed. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Freedia Got A Gun is a documentary that features musician Big Freedia exploring the gun violence epidemic in New Orleans and how gun violence is destroying the Black community. There are descriptions of gun shot wounds and deaths (including commentary by children), and video stills of shootings. Kids talk in frank terms about seeing friends and family get shot or killed, and some discuss their own intention to arm themselves as a means for survival. Freedia is a gay man who prefers the pronoun "she," and there are some conversations about homophobia. Cigarette smoking is visible, and drug use and sales are discussed. Big Freedia’s music is sometimes audible, and random sportswear logos and other items are sometimes seen or referenced. 

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What's the story?

FREEDIA GOT A GUN is a documentary featuring New Orleans-based bounce musician Freddie Ross, Jr., aka Big Freedia, as she tries to make sense of the impact gun violence continues to have in the Big Easy. After losing her younger brother, Adam Ross, to gun violence in 2018, Freedia and a camera crew visit schools, prisons, and neighborhoods to try to help people in the area think differently about gun violence and how it's impacting their lives. As she reminisces about her life growing up in low-income communities, and reflects on her brother, she highlights how guns and gun violence is a perpetual, systematic problem that is growing worse with every generation. Contributing to these narratives are archival family photos, and interviews with Freedia’s late mother, Vera, and sister, Crystal, which offer some insight into the joys and difficulties of Freedia’s childhood. Meanwhile, disturbing police footage and conversations with experts offer insights into how the gun violence epidemic is destroying the future generations of New Orleans’ Black community. 

Is it any good?

This troubling documentary underscores how community gun violence is perpetuated by systematic racism and poverty while exploring how it's been normalized throughout generations of young men and women caught up in it. It highlights how the lack of male mentors, as a result of gun violence and incarceration, has contributed to a misguided desire to appear strong by shooting and killing people. The challenge to survive this system also motivates the violent behavior.  

At times, the narrative in Freedia Got A Gun feels a little disorganized, and the presentation of some key ideas isn’t always clear. But listening to middle and high school children talk nonchalantly about being shot at, watching family members being murdered, and being charged with crimes before making it to high school, is harrowing. However, these are the conversations that are the most powerful, and they show, first hand, how much far-reaching damage the gun violence epidemic continues to cause.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the reason systemic racism leads to violence and other social injustices in Black and other communities of marginalized racial/ethnic backgrounds. Are specific reasons given in Freedia Got A Gun for the high gun violence rate in New Orleans? 

  • There is much said about the problems associated with systemic racism and its relationship to gun violence, but what are the solutions? How can the system be changed to help communities thrive, rather than simply surviving?

  • What other movies or shows have you seen that address social injustice and racism? What are some key takeaways from this documentary and others you've watched? What can you do individually and as a community to help heal America of its racism and widespread injustices?

TV details

  • Premiere date: October 15, 2020
  • Cast: Big Freedia
  • Network: Peacock
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming
  • Last updated: November 12, 2020

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