Big Freedia stands for big causes. The Grammy Award winning LGBTQIA+ icon and drag queen has a new campaign with Converse for its new Pride collection. Since 2015, Converse has pledged $2.5 million to LGBTQIA+ groups through 8 years of annual grants, including its marquee global partner – the It Gets Better Project. Being a part of this campaign was a no-brainer for Big Freedia, who enjoyed every moment of the process.
“I was excited to collaborate with Converse on something totally different and totally new, and with Pride Month coming up, to be the face of Converse for their campaign was really rewarding. I loved doing the shoot, surrounded by other proud, queer individuals. My advice to them and other queer creatives is to be authentic and bold,” Big Freedia starts.
“Be relentless when it comes to going out there and showing the world who you are, and be patient and humble and kind to people, because it goes a long way. You never know what opportunity may come your way,” Big Freedia advises.
That’s a great way to sum up Converse’s commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community, who find pride in the people who make up their workforce, celebrating them every year.
“It really starts with our employees,” Judy Dunbar, Director, Social and Community Impact at Converse, starts. “Our annual celebration of Pride, and our long-term commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community, originated through the passion of our team: individuals across the LGBTQIA+ community have always adopted Converse and we want them to not only be seen by our brand, but to champion their stories and their creativity, and to provide young people with the resources they might need at critical phases in their lives.
“Converse’s impact partners pursue empowerment for the LGBTQIA+ community through a variety of different missions — together, they present a united front in the fight for equality, community, protection, and expression.”
That type of commitment is felt at various levels within the community, especially from the point of view of the It Gets Better Project.
Brian Wenke, Executive Director of the It Gets Better Project, shares how his organization’s mission harnesses the power of young people.
“Everything we do is for the benefit of young LGBTQIA+ people, and given the state of the world today, piled on top of everything else they have to deal with, we’re trying to give them control.”
The It Gets Better Project wants to empower young LGBTQIA+ people in their lives, because they’re not given full rights over their lives that adults have. They’re achieving their mission through storytelling initiatives that provide guidance to young people and through giving grants to schools, among other projects. And a lot of it couldn’t be done without Converse’s support.
“Converse has been a long-term partner of the It Gets Better Project, and has been exemplary of what true allyship means,” Wenke says warmly.
Converse’s new Pride collection is going to help bring forward that allyship even further, especially with how reclamation is a major part of its inspiration.
“This year, the design and product teams alongside our Converse Pride Network (our employee resource group) were discussing identity and how the community has been reclaiming the word ‘queer’ when they started the ideation process for the collection. Because of that, each footwear design is intended to deliver a unique ‘vibe,’” Dunbar shares.
And those looking to support the collection can see those designs proudly on Big Freedia, whose partnership with Converse will extend to her headlining New York City nightlife legend Ladyfag’s LadyLand Festival this June, sponsored by the brand.
As Converse and Big Freedia work with the It Gets Better Project to empower young LGBTQIA+ people and artists, we’ll take their energy and fight to take back, own and advocate for our identity this Pride Month and every day after.