NEW ORLEANS — “Queen of Bounce” Big Freedia and Grammy-winning artist PJ Morton will appear at the 5th annual Central Time Zone celebration from New Orleans on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021,” Dick Clark productions and ABC announced today. Big Freedia will serve as the host of the New Orleans show while Morton will perform the classic “Auld Lang Syne” as part of the lead-up to the countdown to the fleur-de-lis drop at midnight.
The most-watched New Year’s Eve celebration nationwide, which features iconic performances of the year’s biggest songs, airs live on Thursday, Dec. 31, at 7 p.m. (CST).
Note: This is a broadcast event, closed to the public.
“We are beyond excited that Big Freedia and PJ Morton, two of New Orleans’ brightest musical lights, will be shining for our city and before the entire world as we ring in the new year. Even though we won’t be watching this performance in person, we will be watching from the safety of our homes as ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021’ rings in the new year with that special New Orleans flavor. We’re also excited that this event will employ nearly 70 local crew members, many of whom have been shut out of production jobs due to the pandemic, and that the world will remember that New Orleans will be the safest place to visit and enjoy our music and culture in 2021,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Big Freedia has spent much of her career as a respected artist in and advocated for New Orleans’ vibrant hip-hop scene while serving as an inspiration to others in the community. The rapper and cultural icon expanded her audience with her own reality show, “Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce”; her autobiography, “God Save the Queen Diva!”; several albums, most recently “Big Freedia’s Smokin’ Santa Christmas”; and notable collaborations with Kesha, Lizzo, Beyonce, and Icona Pop, to name a few. More recently she has collaborated with the City on public service announcements to promote safe and healthy practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, appearing with Mayor Cantrell in one and with fellow New Orleans entertainers such as Kermit Ruffins and Bryan Batt in another.
Fellow New Orleans native PJ Morton is a Grammy Award-winning artist, songwriter, producer, and keyboardist as well as the founder and CEO of Morton Records. He is the son of Bishop Paul S. Morton, senior pastor of Changing a Generation Full Gospel Baptist Church in Atlanta, and of Dr. Debra Brown Morton, pastor of Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church in New Orleans. In December 2018, PJ Morton released a holiday album, “Christmas With PJ Morton,” and performed in Mayor Cantrell’s Cultural Concert Series through the Office of Cultural Economy. (Watch the concert here.)
This year marks the 49th annual “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” America’s go-to New Year’s tradition which celebrates the year’s very best in music. The show sets the stage to ring in the new year with more than five and a half hours of dynamic performances airing until 2 A.M. EST and gives viewers a look at New Year’s celebrations from around the globe. As previously announced, Ryan Seacrest returns for his 16th year as host and will be joined by Lucy Hale and Billy Porter in Times Square. Ciara will once again oversee the Los Angeles festivities, returning to the show for her fourth year. Jennifer Lopez will headline the event from Times Square, performing minutes before the iconic ball drop, with additional performances by Billy Porter, Cyndi Lauper, Jimmie Allen, and Machine Gun Kelly. Previously announced performers in Los Angeles include Brandy, Doja Cat, Ella Mai, Lewis Capaldi, Maluma, Megan Thee Stallion, Miley Cyrus, Nelly, and Saweetie.
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