New Orleans shares the spotlight with Beyonce in her new video, “Formation,” and that’s no accident: The aftermath of Katrina is part of Bey’s not-so-subtle sociopolitical messaging. The song even includes vocals from gay NOLA hip-hop icon Big Freedia
But there’s another voice on the track, one less known but no less engaging: As the beat starts, we hear rapper-comic Messy Mya declare “What happened at the New Wil’ins [New Orleans]/ Bitch I’m back, by popular demand!”
Messy Mya (real name: Anthony Barre) was a New Orleans comic and rapper known for his raspy voice, Day-Glo hair and the withering shade he delivered in numerous YouTube videos.
Messy was funny, raw and politically incorrect. His videos, which clocked tens of thousands of views, addressed the people he saw everyday and the violence that was part of their regular life.
(His life, too: Mya was shot to death down leaving a baby shower in 2010.)
There’s debate about Mya’s sexuality—some sources report he was gay, some insist he was straight, and still others say he was bi.
Ooooo The Prince Of Bounce But The King Pounch!! Touch Ya Body Messy Mya!! #TeamCoo #MessyMya #NewOrleans #Own #Legend #Trendsetter #Original #Comedian #Rapper #Artist #Messyland #Ripcoo #Wemissyou #Weloveyou #Family #Friends #Fans #Holdingyoudown #4life #Cherished #Love #Neverforgotten #Nola #starttheliving #Stoptheviolence
Whatever the case, Mya was certainly comfortable blurring gender lines and addressing queer themes, and was popular in New Orleans’s gay community.
In “Studs Pregnant For Punks,” he wonders about butch lesbians getting pregnant.
In “Messy Steddy v. Blazerboy Money,” two male friends engage in a twerk off.
The “What happened at the New Wil’ins” line from “Formation” is actually taken from Mya’s 2010 video, “Booking the Hoes From New Wildin.”
That video has clocked in more than a 1.7 million views—mostly thanks to the “Formation” nod—but Mya’s inclusion in the song ensures his legacy will live on long after his death.
the fact that "formation" is putting a spotlight on queer black people like big freedia and messy mya really makes me feel a way.
— Myles E. Johnson (@AsToldByMyles) February 9, 2016
— Yaba Blay (@fiyawata) February 6, 2016