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Watch out, New York: New Orleans is in the running to replace you as the city that never sleeps. While NOLA’s annual French Quarter Festival sprinkled jazzy swing notes across cobblestone streets, a soirée of Black royalty and representation lit up the town on Saturday, April 15—and STYLECASTER was there to watch it all go down.
On May 4, Netflix is dropping Shonda Rhimes’ newest Bridgerton-verse series Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story, a prequel following how young Queen Charlotte’s marriage to King George was the perfect love story, yet an outlier in the diversity-lacking Ton.
To celebrate the six-part Shondaland series, Netflix partnered with HBCU (Historically Black College or University) Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) and Big Freedia, New Orleans icon and the Queen of Bounce (a NOLA-born style of hip-hop), to host a Spring Waltz for local Black students. “It’s great that Netflix has expanded its horizon and worked with all different walks of life,” Big Freedia told media outlets on the red carpet, which was decorated with rich florals and wigs inspired by the show. “I’m here to represent for the culture of New Orleans and to just represent for my city and my people and just to bring authentic New Orleans.”
And represent she did. In addition to the rapper, guests included Xavier University’s 87th Miss Xavier Nina Giddens, plus queens from other HBCU campuses like Jerika Edwards (Miss Dillard University), Taverlyn Shepard (Miss Prairie View A&M University) and Aleya Barber (Miss Tuskegee). As the evening commenced, guests sashayed over to a stage, towered by a 20-foot-tall replica of Queen Charlotte’s crown.
Later at Queen Charlotte’s Spring Waltz, the all-female Original Pinettes Brass Band played upbeat renditions of hits like Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and Katy Perry’s “Roar.” XULA’s Golden Starlettes dance team showcased a spicy choreographed routine, and the university’s homecoming court performed a beautiful “bounce waltz” front and center. As a gift, Xavier University’s marching band was also surprised with the unveiling of their first-ever marching band uniforms, courtesy of Queen Charlotte (a.k.a Netflix).
Serving and (t)werking as the grand finale, Big Freedia gave a high-energy, hour-long private concert, singing her newly released Bridgerton-themed single “Hey Queen,” plus Beyoncé faves and other singles. If the performance was any indication of what the series will deliver, expect a hit.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story will stream on Netflix on May 4.