Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told (2024) Movie Script

[tape deck clicks]
[car horns honking on video]
[21 Savage] I think the '90s just
resonate with us because
they knew how to have fun.
The world was more, like, pure.
[inaudible dialogue]
It was something organic
and just real and for the people.
It's damn near immortal.
["Strub Tha Ground" by Quavo
and Yung Miami playing]
-Scrub the ground
-Scrub the ground
-Scrub the ground
-Swoop, trappin'
-Scrub the ground
-Scrub the ground
-Scrub the ground
-Ay, go
-Scrub the ground
-Scrub the ground
-Scrub the ground
-Scrub the ground
-Scrub the ground
-Scrub the ground
Pop it, don't stop it, shake that...
Hey, man, Freaknik's always a vibe.
[speaker 1]
And most of us, we were born in the '90s.
[speaker 2]
I love all of the '90s aesthetics
and so I wanted to give
a little sparkle, a little shine,
a little body, you know?
[speaker 3]
Just the culture of Atlanta and Freaknik
is very important to that.
You know, hip-hop, all of that shit.
Real Atlanta shit,
real Freaknik shit. Yeah.
[speaker 4]
We coming from the '90s
so we only bringing home
gold trophies, that's it.
Scrub the ground
Been a scrub, scrub
But I make her scrub the ground...
Them kids ain't know
nothin' about Freaknik.
["Shake It" by MC Shy D playing]
Come on, come on, shake, shake it
Come on, shake, shake it
Come on, come on, shake, shake it
Come on, shake, shake it
Come on, come on, shake, shake it
Come on, shake, shake it
Come on
[speaker 1]
This wasn't an adult-sanctioned event.
This is something
that was driven by the youth.
[speaker 2]
People were coming from far
to experience Freaknik,
purely by word of mouth.
["Uncle Luke" Campbell]
It wasn't no social media,
barely had internet.
[Dr. Maurice Hobson]
If you were a true baller,
you would have the big camcorder
and put it on your shoulder.
[indistinct chatter]
[speaker 3]
People was outside they cars,
people was on top of they cars.
[speaker 4]
There wasn't even a word called twerking.
It was just called booty shaking.
-[hip-hop music playing]
-[crowd shouting]
[speaker 5]
The streets, the people, the girls.
The debauchery. [laughs]
[Jalen Rose]
I don't know what heaven looks like,
but this seems like a version of it.
Let me see you shake it, shake it
Shake it, shake it
Shorty, swing my way
[speaker 6] Freaknik was
much bigger than just a party.
It was fashion, it was culture,
it was food, it was music.
And it was just Black, Black,
Black, Black, Black everywhere.
Black love, Black excellence.
Black enterprise.
Freaknik was the greatest
Black gathering in America.
[Kenny Burns] They didn't know
to bring order to it 'cause it was kids.
Any revolution ever
in the history of the world,
when it's youth, they're not
even speaking the same language,
so how can you understand the value?
This is when we began to see
this is not gonna last forever.
Freaknik no longer is about
college students having a good time.
It's about a breakdown in law and order.
I think that's the mayor's fault.
[speaker 1] People wasn't out here
looking for no problems.
They was lookin' out here to have fun.
Every time somebody ran,
they ran from the police.
[speaker 2]
Yeah, you just knew it wasn't right.
It turned into something a little dark,
a little dangerous.
[static hissing]
["Scarred" by Uncle Luke
feat. Trick Daddy playing]
-Cap D comin', Cap D comin'
-Ride, ride
-Cap D comin', Cap D comin'
-Ride, ride, ride, ride
-Cap D comin', Cap D comin'
-Ride, ride
Let's go, give it up now
Beat that fine move
Fuck niggas rock too
My niggas no good
Ain't nothin' but her so good
Trick Daddy in the house
Disrespect, watch your mouth
She eat all D
-And dog you to captain D
-Yeah, yeah
I like my hoes never home,
always in the street hoe-ing
Three to the store with
their ass cheeks showing
Lookin' fly with their hair and nails
done up been in that coupe
Them the ones I like to run up in, unh
Like the big booty hoes
with cute faces
Let a nigga hit it
on the first-day basis
Niggas fake but ya kick game straight
X and O's down with
the diamond name plates, unh

[Killer Mike] So you gotta understand,
Atlanta didn't start with Freaknik.
It didn't start with the proliferation
of reality TV shows.
It didn't start with the music industry.
Atlanta has been the shit
for Black people.
It was the shit
when Little Richard played here.
It was the shit
when James Brown played here.
It was the shit
when Muhammad Ali fought here.
But what really makes it the shit
is every generation has a Freaknik moment
where they come just to have some fun,
and they fuck around and find freedom.
["Welcome To Atlanta Remix"
by Jermaine Dupri playing ]
I got somethin' else to tell you
'bout the new Motown
Where people don't visit,
they move out here
And ain't no tellin' who you might see
up in Lenox Square
I don't know about you,
but I miss the Freaknik
'Cause that's when my city
used to be real sick...
[Jermaine Dupri]
People were coming from other states,
Black people,
and they saw the freedom.
[21 Savage]
The police gon' look like you,
the club owners gon' look like you.
This like the mecca
for Black people in America.
When you came to Atlanta,
it made you feel like,
"I could be an entrepreneur,
I could do anything, because, look,
I see people who look like me."
So people started looking at that like,
"Yo, this is where I wanna
move to and raise my family."
[Shanti Das]
Growing up in the SWATS,
it was like our own little Wakanda.
All of my friends' parents were successful
and you didn't have that in a lot of,
you know, other metropolitan areas,
like this real influx
of middle-class America.
[indistinct crowd chatter]
[Kasim Reed]
When you look through the ranks
of leadership in the city,
there was a longstanding agreement
that Black people would have
political power in Atlanta
and white people had economic power,
and we would meet in the city,
do business,
and typically retreated
to segregated neighborhoods.
And so that was an understanding
that allowed the city to flourish
in an uninterrupted way for decades.
[Marc Lamont Hill] 'Cause Atlanta,
in many ways, for Black people
represents possibility.
Cultural possibility, economic possibility
and educational possibility.
[indistinct yelling]
There is a history in this country
of the establishment
not wanting Black people to have
access to education,
and so we had to build our own.
[upbeat funk music playing]

[Dr. Maurice Hobson]
What Atlanta already has built into it
is that it has multiple
historically Black colleges.
So you have the young people
who are coming to college
and saying,
"Well, hey, I like Atlanta, I'm staying."
And you begin to see
this kind of influx of people.
[upbeat funk music continues]

The HBCU all around the country
was a vibrant site
of Black life and Black culture
for over a century.
[Stacy Lloyd]
The draw for going to an HBCU
and coming to Atlanta
specifically was the AUC:
Spelman, Morehouse,
Morris Brown, Clark Atlanta.
It's literally like
walking inside of the classroom
and your cousins and your sisters
and your brothers are there
and you're just looking
right back at yourself.
[Kathleen Bertrand] I remember
saying, "This is like a utopia here
in the AU Center,"
because you see Black people
in positions of power
and prominence all the time.
It was nothing to have
Angela Davis visit the campus
or to have Jesse Jackson,
because that was
just the environment we were in.
The Atlanta University Center
is the reason Atlanta
became the Black mecca.
You just will not find
that experience anywhere else.
As a Black woman, as a woman,
it was really the only time
that I was part of the majority,
and everything's just for us and about us.
Well, hi, everybody,
from Daytona Beach, in Florida,
where right now, it is spring break time
and it is a mecca for the
college-age crowd. How many? Well--
[newscaster on TV] It was a group
of Washington D.C. students
attending college here who
kicked off what was then
a very different kind of event,
attended by not thousands
or even hundreds,
but 50 young people.
Sharon Toomer showed me
the group that started
what the city now calls
Black College Spring Break.
["No Words Required" by Ryan Prewett
feat. Chris Swartwood playing]
[Sharon Toomer] When was the last time
you saw Tony, Monique, Emma?
Probably, phew, 40 years.
[chuckles] Since graduation.
It's been too long.
[birds chirping]
[group exclaim]
Oh, my goodness, look who it is.
Oh, my goodness, Amadi!
-[indistinct chatter]
Oh, my goodness.
Y'all still look the same,
except Emma's hair has turned blue.
We were just bringing a little piece
of Chocolate City to Atlanta.
That's exac--
That's a good way to put it.
That's a good way to put it, Tony.
But the thing is, is that
the way we started it
-is not how it ended.
-[Amadi/Sharon] Right.
And that's, I think,
people don't know that.
I think when people
hear the word "Freaknik,"
-they think of the '90s.
-But people did not know about the '80s.
They didn't know how we started it.
They don't know where the name came from.
We had no money.
We were, we, we were getting
support from left and right
and we made it happen.
And I'm telling you,
-we had no inclination...
-[Amadi Boon] Right. the depth of-of a legacy
we were creating.
[record scratching]
[upbeat hip-hop music playing]
[Emma Horton]
Once you got to the AU campus,
just about every state had a club.
That was the opportunity
to develop your first comradery.
[Monique Tolliver]
The state clubs,
I think today it would be
what social media is.
The state clubs is what
drew people closer together.
[Amadi] There was a Michigan Club,
we had a California Club.
There was a tri-state club, a Philly club,
I guess it was for Pennsylvania.
But of all of the state clubs,
all the state organizations,
I'd say that the DC Metro Club,
we were the ones that had the reputation.
[laughs] We were the ones
that threw the best parties.
[trombone music plays]
We wanted to provide
events that would help
to support our students
around things like the school breaks,
where we could party
and just celebrate being together.
[Sharon] It came time
for our spring break activity.
Some people were going home,
some people were going someplace else.
But a lot of us were staying in Atlanta
for the spring break.
We're only talking about
like a, you know, a week time.
Many people couldn't afford to go home.
I was... [laughs] I was one of them.
So we, you know, we decided,
"Well, hey, we're all here.
We need to get together.
We need to do something."
So we said, "Let's plan a picnic.
We're gonna have a picnic
during spring break."
I said, you know, "We need to have
some kind of a theme for the year
so we can plan all of our events
around a theme."
And I remember Tony said to me,
something to the effect that,
"We should bring back the freak."
And so from that point on,
each event that we had,
somehow or another,
had the word "freak"
incorporated into the name of the event
when we promoted it.
[Maurice] In 1978, Chic debuted this song,
Chic Le Freak.
Of course the song goes...
Ah, freak out
[Maurice] And then there's
a dance that accompanies it.
Freak out
People think that the Freak is freaky,
but when we were doing the Freak,
it wasn't scandalous, but it was fun.

[Amadi] We decided on a date
for the spring picnic,
now we've gotta come up with a name
and something that's gonna
fit in with our theme.
And so our classmate said,
"Let's call it 'Freaknik.'"
Merging of "picnic,"
which we shouldn't be using anymore,
now that we now
are educated on what picnic meant,
and "freak."
I thought it was really clever.
That's a beautiful thing.
I mean, we just come up
with stuff on the fly.
["Bustin' Loose" by Chuck Brown
& The Soul Searchers playing]
The title is absolutely misleading
'cause you would think
it was just somethin'
where everybody's wildin'
and people strippin' on the streets
and, you know, having sex everywhere.
But Freaknik was just a--
it was just a party.
It was just a-a southern cookout, right?
We needed to promote it, advertise it.
We had to buy food and we,
of course, we would sell the food.
Hot dogs and potato chips
and, you know, that kinda stuff.
Sodas and beer.
We selected the spot for the first one.
This just nondescript
area of Piedmont Park
on the corner of
10th Avenue and Monroe Drive,
that at that time was really pretty barren
and just a good spot we could meet there.
[Monique] We did a lot of work
to bring that Freaknik
that we had at Piedmont Park.
I can remember...
gosh, reaching out for donations,
reaching out for so much help,
and the community was so supportive of us
and it was a success.
["Bustin' Loose" continues playing]
We were like,
"Wow, did I do that?" [laughs]
You know? But it-it worked.
[Amadi] What started out
as a necessity for us
as a fill-in spring break event
definitely became
something that filled a void
for other Black college students
in the area.
From that point on,
they began to be
our marketing and our promotion,
because everybody was like,
"When is the next one?
When is the next one?"
I feel like bustin' loose
College students can't go home
and after a while,
college students don't wanna go home.
Yeah, Freaknik! [laughs]
I'll be back, though.
I'm looking forward to coming back.
[upbeat percussive music playing]
There was a transition period
when it was truly a school event.
But clearly this had morphed
into something far greater
than we could have ever imagined.
["Welcome to the Party"
by John Ross playing]

[camera shutter clicks]
How did it get to be such a big deal?
I don't know. Maybe because it's
a Black environment down here.
You know, you have
all the Black colleges down here.
Everyone gets together
and enjoy themselves.
[interviewer] But how do--
how does word get around?
-I mean, it wasn't...
-I don't know, man.
...all that big a deal five years ago.
-Word of mouth.
-Word of mouth.
-It's word of mouth.
1980s and the early 1990s,
you have a... a movie renaissance,
a Black movie renaissance
that's taking place.
I mean, you know, you gotta
think about School Daze,
filmed right here in Atlanta, Georgia.
You know, Spike Lee, Morehouse man.
You recognize me?
Yeah, I've seen you online.
Aren't you number one?
Yeah, that's me. Half-Pint.
Gammite number one.
-Gamma Phi Gamma.
Pleased to meet you.
Nice to meet you.
The appetite for Black college culture,
at least mainstream,
was really ignited with School Daze.
Black filmmakers
were really getting their start.
Of course, Spike Lee.
And, you know, for me it was exciting,
so I got energized
about what was possible for me.
[peppy music playing]
[indistinct chatter]
[speaker] But I mean I believe
that School Daze,
that energy and that feel,
was heavily influenced by Freaknik.
Uh, because initially, I mean, that was,
it was a college fraternity,
sorority, community energy.
A Different World is on TV.
You begin to see this
kinda movement of Black culture
that's being spewed
and assessed critically.
Freaknik is going to be live!
Bobby Brown, Heavy D,
two days of nonstop music, food...
[both] Men.
What? Did she just say
she's going to Freaknik? My event?
[chuckles] You know, that me
and my friends created in school
is now big enough and popular enough
that someone on TV
is actually talking about it.
So your parents don't mind?
Well, Mom was cool
until I mentioned the word "Freaknik."
Now that was your first mistake.
You should have told her
-it was just an outdoor concert.
-I did.
[Ronda Racha Penrice]
A Different World absolutely boosted
Black college attendance
by presenting a positive light
of an all-Black experience.
As somebody that went
to a traditionally white institution,
it was refreshing for me
to see my people in college,
my age celebrating on a stage like this.
HBCUs became the catalyst
for Freaknik to actually take place.
It was organic, and that's why I think
that it grew and took off,
uh, and became an event
that attracted
hundreds of thousands of people.
[horns honking]
So we have Black students coming in
every third weekend
in-in April for our gathering
that's for and about us.
Yo, what's up? This is Lez Mon
once again coming to you live
from the AU Center with Freaknik.
And who we got here?
My name is Wesley Parkman
from Morehouse College,
originally from Waterbury, Connecticut.
[Marc] My brother
went to Morehouse in the '80s,
so I had been hearing about Freaknik
as long as I've been
hearing about Morehouse.
And when he talked about Freaknik,
he talked about it
like it was a fun thing to do.
He didn't talk about it like it was wild
or like it was crazy.
He just said, "Yo, spring break,
that's where you need to be."
He said that spring break
was when you had--
uh, girls were gonna be out there,
great music was gonna be out there,
and if you wanted to pledge,
you better start knowing
who those brothers were
who were outside in these parks.
'Cause those are the same brothers
that was gonna decide
whether you made line or not.
So for me,
Freaknik was like an entry point
into the Black cultural experience,
into the Black Greek letter experience.
[Emma] I-I think initially,
when we first started it,
our draw card was the fact
that this was a Black picnic.
You know, every--
we all knew about Daytona Beach,
we knew about some of the other things,
but they were not put on by us
or the people who you heard
attending look like us.
So here we are
in a, uh, historical Black colleges
and we're saying,
"We gonna celebrate ourselves,
"we gonna celebrate with ourselves.
"Now you welcome to come,
but we're designing this for us."
[Shanti] When I saw people flying in
from DC and New York and LA,
I swear it was at least several
thousand people at Washington Park.
I had never seen anything like it.
It was like a movie.
And I was like, "Oh, okay,
this is bigger than Atlanta."
["I Got Cha Opin' Remix"
by Black Moon playing]
Original crooks
I heard about Freaknik when I was young,
and I had cousins that went to Morehouse.
It was like, "I can't wait
to get older so I can try to go."
And so what ended up happening is
I shot dice a lot when I was in college.
[dice clatters]
Rest in peace, Chris Wilson.
His father Porterfield Wilson,
he had a car dealership in Detroit,
and they used to have some big dice games.
So I went to one of the dice games,
and I won a down payment
to a 10th anniversary edition Honda.
The next day,
Ray Jackson, Jimmy King and I
got on the road and drove it to Freaknik.
["Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz"
by Lost Boyz playing]
[Too Short] Everybody drove
to fuckin' Freaknik.
Well, look at the map.
All the cities, heck,
you just jump the car.
"Man, we going to Atlanta.
I ain't got no flight.
Don't need a flight.
Let's get into one car and go. Let's go."
Ain't nuttin' wrong with
puffin' on lai
And if you're with me
let me hear you say "right"
-Right, ri-right
-Now a-- now-- now a dayz
-Niggaz frontin' like they ill
-Like they ill
Now bustin' caps and
got a muthafkin'--
It was almost like a car show, too.
The Suzuki Samurais was big
at that particular point in time.
Had the Suzuki Samurai crew.
Whatever cars was goin',
they came to the city to show off.
So everybody knew the assignment.
Everybody was riding around like,
you know, "I just got these wheels
on my car, you need to see this."
[hip-hop music playing]
[tires screeching]
[engines revving]

[horn honking]
Rims were poppin' back then.
You know that whole system, you know,
gettin' your car done inside
with the wood grain
and the piping seats, the whole nine,
so it was a big, crazy culture.
So getting rims was a necessity.
It was like getting
a new pair of sneakers.
When I got to the Rim Shop was I met Greg
when I first came here in '91
and me and him got cool.
So he was like, "Yo, um, I saw this spot
"in Peachtree and Ralph McGill downtown.
You know, we should put
the shop over there."
That was gonna be the whole thing.
Rim shop upstairs, studio downstairs.
Talking about the Freaknik,
the Rim Shop was a place
where you came to.
When you landed in Atlanta,
you wanted to see
where the Rim Shop was at.
It was a landmark, you know,
people wanted to see it.
There's mad flavor out here.
We just been chillin'.
We went to
Erick Sermon's house last night.
He had a nice little bash goin' on.
The Rim Shop was a rim shop
that didn't sell rims.
[snickers] You know what I mean?
It was really a meeting hole
for Black Hollywood, you know?
You would take your car there,
and it'd take you three months to get rims
and you might see your car at a party.
[Erick Sermon]
During Freaknik, stars start coming in.
You would see Tupac
in the Rim Shop, David Justice.
But in the back of the Rim Shop,
you would also see T.I.
You would see, uh, Goodie Mob or OutKast.
Usher Raymond.
These are all people
before they got famous
was at the Rim Shop, in the back of it.

So I, basically, during Freaknik,
either stayed at the Rim Shop
and slept on the floor
or slept at my cousin's apartment
on the floor.
We ain't had no hotel rooms.
It was all in the parking lot.
So when you talk about
parking lot pimpin',
you gotta think about it this way.
There are people who would
go in on like a U-Haul,
stay in the U-Haul,
and then if you find
a girl or a guy that had a room,
then you hoped to end up in their room.
-[hip-hop music playing]
-[indistinct chatter]
[newscaster] Black College Spring Break
is thumping once again.
Thousands have come
by the carloads with cameras.
Cory Lewis and nine of his friends
from Dover, Delaware
chipped in to rent an RV
for the rolling party.
We had more than this,
they just backed out on us.
[speaker 1] So you get about 20,
you know 10 of 'em gonna leave.
Yeah, we had about 20,
so 10 of 'em backed out.
It cost us $125 a piece,
um, and plannin' on spending enough
to make us have fun.
[interviewer] You drove how many miles?
You drove what, a thousand?
-583 miles exactly.
-[speaker 2] Seven hours.
-[interviewer] Is it--
-Eight hours.
Is it worth it driving all this way
just for a couple days and then you
gotta turn around and go back?
[speaker 2]
Look around, look around, look around.
It's worth it.
[upbeat music playing]
Okay, right here,
my friend, we have Tiffany.
She's from Milwaukee.
Don't she look good?
She got the nice haircut.
-[Tiffany chuckles]
-She looks gorgeous, baby, look.
Honestly speaking, Freaknik really started
the evolution of Atlanta
being this hub of fashion, of music,
of this culture of beautiful Blackness.
If you look at a Freaknik photo album
from the '80s through the '90s,
you will literally get the kind of, like,
chronology of Black fashion
and Black hair during that time.
You saw brothers with waves,
high-top fades, baldies like Onyx.
It was all the things
you would expect to see,
and sisters, the same thing.
[Sharon] We're either
pressing our hair, blow drying our hair,
curling irons.
We were really into feathered.
Look at that hairstyle.
[Adamma McKinnon] At the time,
everybody was on the-the finger waves,
the updo.
The bigger the hair,
the harder the hair.
I mean, literally everybody carried
around a bottle of Pump It Up
to make sure that
the hair stayed in place.
And you wasn't ashamed
of it at all, either.
We ain't play about our hair then
and we don't play about that shit now,
so it's always been
to the forefront of keeping it laid.
And as far as the jewelry,
the bigger, the bolder,
herringbone chain.
And if you really wanted to stand out,
not only did you have the chain,
you had the set.
The bracelet, the anklet, and the chain.
[Rasheeda] I worked at Greenbriar Mall
at Merry Go Round.
So we had all the drip,
from the Maurice Malone to Jarbo.
Damaged suits, used suits.
Karl Kani, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo,
two-button with the collar,
booty shorts with the Air Max.
You was lit, okay? [laughs]
[Kawan "KP" Prather]
Js were always 1,000% up.
Cross Colours, it was still
coming out of the prep stage.
So you'd be like Tritons
and tennis sweaters,
big shorts and Benetton bags.
[Ronda] You know,
the dress wasn't as provocative.
Like, I had on some short-shorts,
which for Freaknik I was overdressed.
But, like, for my family,
"Uh-uh, no.
Please go put some clothes on."
[hip-hop music playing]
[indistinct chatter]
You know, as young kids
we were driving around Atlanta
trying to find out what was happening.
Music was goin'.
It was music coming
from every different direction.
[pop song playing]
[hip-pop song playing]
[indistinct chatter]
-Kent State in the house.
-[horn honks]
[DJ Nabs]
Piedmont Park was a hot spot.
V-103 was the station here.
[radio host]
Atlanta, everybody's station, V-103...
V-103 was like the dominant
heritage station in the market
from back in the disco days
all the way up through the R&B days.
[Shanti] There was definitely
a time where V-103
would not play hip-hop.
They only played R&B music.
[Greg Street]
It was just like on the weekends.
They had a rap show
on the weekends on Friday nights,
I think with, with Darren Fierce called
The Fresh Party.
The Fresh Party, Fox 36.
Jerry "Smokin'" B having a great time.
Come on and join us.
And that's when they would
play like the Kilos,
and the Raheems,
and the Success-n-Effects,
and the Eric B.'s and the,
the Big Daddy Kanes,
and LL Cool Js, and all the records
that was poppin' back then.
New York Mix, New York records.
It was no such thing as a Atlanta artist
being played on the, on the radio.
It wasn't even Atlanta DJs on the radio.
And a lot of folks here,
we had issues with that.
They wasn't even really fuckin' with us.
[horns honking]
But Freaknik helped loosen that up.
[record scratches]
Jump, jump
You should know, you should
know that, ah, Kris Kross...
When Kris Kross broke in '92,
that opened the door
for So So Def the label.
So by '93, So So Def
now had Da Brat and Xscape.
["Just Kickin' It" by Xscape playing]
[DJ Nabs] So this is all kinda during
the same time as Freaknik is rising
along with
the radio stations coming in now
where the city is having
just more of a voice totally.
Records being produced,
a station to play it,
DJs in the club supported by the radio
that's promoting the clubs.
Prior to, you didn't have that.
Like, the structure
around Atlanta was building
is what it felt like.
["It's Going Down" by SOURWAH
feat. Maya Miko playing]
[Uncle Luke] Coming to Atlanta,
it wasn't no music scene,
it was a underground cult going on
of guys doing bass music,
and then, you know,
JD then came and start--
JD started doing music.
["It's Going Down" continues playing]
[KP] J ermaine started getting
popular earlier than all of us.
He'd been on the road
with, like, the Fresh Fest.
He was kinda like
the most professional artist in Atlanta.

[Lil Jon] He's always,
and still to this day, about uplifting
the Atlanta culture
and preserving the Atlanta culture
and showcasing Atlanta to the world.
As Freaknik is getting bigger,
you saw people like Jermaine Dupri
use it as an opportunity
to kind of introduce
more of the world to Southern hip-hop.
Jermaine Dupri's
like the Dr. Dre of Atlanta,
like the Diddy of Atlanta, for real.
[Killer Mike] Jermaine Dupri's one of the
most powerful human beings I've ever met.
And it's not because
he exerts power over other people,
he empowers other people.
What he did for
two 12-year-old kids in Kris Kross,
what he did for Da Brat,
and what that did
for female MCs being taken seriously,
what he did for Xscape and Jagged Edge.
You know, I think that Jermaine's story
is linked to this city,
it's linked to music,
but I think it's very much
linked to, you know,
you went to Freaknik,
you seeing that sign.

So, yeah, this-this block right here
was very, very instrumental in Freaknik,
um, because this is the block
before you actually get to Piedmont Park.
So all of this was poppin'.
[hip-hop music playing]
[Jermaine] Every bit of this was,
like, just wall-to-wall people.
[indistinct chatter]
This whole area was full.
Not like a pocket.
Like, every piece of ground out here
was covered with Negroes.
[Jermaine laughs]
[Jermaine] We had some
of the biggest artists of that time
all performing right here
in Piedmont Park.
Craig Mack, Biggie.
This is where the gumbo
of Freaknik was happening, right here.
It was huge.
-[crowd cheering]
-[host] Atlanta!
["Dreams" by
The Notorious B.I.G. playing]
Everybody move your body
Whitney Houston boostin' from Bobby
As I bust the cherry of
Monica and Terri
Back shots to Chaka,
I know that pussy hairy
Sade, ooh, I know that pussy tight
Smacked Tina Turner...
[rapping, song fade out]
-[Uncle Luke] My man, 50 grand.
-What's up, my brother?
-[Jermaine] What's happenin'?
Alright, man.
This is the first time
I've been here, man.
-Welcome. [laughs]
-Nice studio.
The-the-the house that J built.
Yeah, yeah, the house that I built.
So-so, we talkin' about
this Freaknik thing, huh?
-[Jermaine] You know, what's crazy?
Was I... I wasn't old enough
to be a part of the actual...
[Jermaine] Yeah, the festivities,
the Luke festivities
in the beginning.
So what year was your first year?
[Jermaine] It had to be like '93, '94.
So you missed-- You--
What you missed was the-the beginning
of it all, the transition.
-Yeah. Yeah.
-You know when--
When it was, "Okay,
the little Greek thing in the park,"
and then, "Now we want
to elevate this thing,
take it to another level
and bring the freaky part of it."
[Jermaine] Hmm.
[Uncle Luke] If you gon' have
a freak show party
or a freak anything party,
you know, you gotta have us.
["Me So Horny"
by The 2 Live Crew playing]
Me love you long time
Atlanta embraced us from word "go"
and that's why Freaknik was so great,
because Atlanta is the,
is the Black Mecca of the South.
Everything pretty much
starts and end in Atlanta.
I truly believe that at some point,
you know, the South will
control hip-hop, you know,
and-and eventually
ended up having to make--
-they made me look like a genius.
-Oh, yeah.
-Y'all made me look like a genius.
-You are, you are a genius.
[camera shutter clicking]
-[hip-hop music playing]
-[indistinct chatter]
Freaknik, it's been growing every year.
You know, I've been here for four years.
As long as they just come out here
and have a nice time,
enjoy themselves, mingle among the crowds,
then everything should be alright.
[Uncle Luke]
In '93, it was a nice, peaceful party.
People walking down the street,
you know, and all this beautiful stuff.
-[indistinct chatter]
[Uncle Luke]
You got this little innocent Freaknik,
then you got this
crazy motherfucker in Miami, me...
-[hip-hop music playing]
-[indistinct chatter]
[Uncle Luke] ...doing all these
sexually driven, wild-ass songs,
screamin', "We want some pussy"
and "Shake that ass, bitch,"
"Let me see what you got,"
"Pop that pussy," "Doo-doo brown."
Pop that pussy
Pop, pop that pussy, baby
And then you got these sexually
charged-up college students.
I mean, anybody, you know,
that goes to college,
you know, that's the first thing
you think about, is sex.

And so you add all that into this nice,
beautiful city called Atlanta
where all these Black people
and it became a perfect storm.

[KP] Luke is basically a soundtrack
for what Freaknik feels like,
because where he came,
came the freak shit.
So, you got Freaknik,
why wouldn't you have
the king of freak shit there?

Luke did a lot of chantin',
which made you want to
just get up and be like,
"Yeah, freak them girls!"
The shit felt good.
Just be honest.
-[hip-hop music playing]
-[indistinct chatter]
Regardless of what was going on,
it made you just feel
like having fuckin' fun.
[Kenny] All the things that were poppin'
in Atlanta was influenced
by 2 Live Crew
and what Luke was doing in Florida.

[Uncle Luke] I think I had a large
influence on more people coming
because it became word of mouth.
You know, word of mouth is,
"Man, they got this
wild, crazy, freaky party."
Then now on top of it,
you got me do a fuckin'
Work It Out video,
and the Work It Out video
was shot at Freaknik.
Ooh, aah, I want some fuckin' pie
And then now that song became big,
and before you know it,
people would then come back to Freaknik
because you heard the stories.
"Man, that shit was crazy."
"Man, the girls was this and that."
"Man, the dudes was this."
"Man we went-- we never slept a day
while we was at Freaknik.
"We just all got a hotel room.
"We never even stayed in there.
We was fuckin' having sex on the streets."
I mean, you name it, it was guys doin' it.
I just brought the freak to Freaknik.
Shit, somebody had to do it.
["Dazzey Duks" by Duice playing]
Look at them girls
with the Dazzey Duks on
I want you to
Look at them girls
with the Dazzey Duks on
Look at them girls
with the Dazzey Duks on
I want you to
Look at them girls
with the Dazzey Duks on
In the '90s, places like Freaknik
were one of the few sites in public
where you could let loose,
wear a little less.
And so it was a moment
where Black women and girls
were able to see themselves
as not just people
who responded to what men wanted,
but who could express their own desires.
That kinda stuff was radical at the time.
...Dazzey Duks on
I want you to
You know, uh, Daisy Duke
from The Dukes of Hazzard?
Like, her shorts was short.
When they named the shorts after her,
they wasn't fittin' on her
like they fit on,
on these girls.
[indistinct chatter]
So Daisy Dukes are, you know,
you might just maybe catch
a little bit of booty
underneath, but they short.
But them coochie cutters,
you got camel toes, monkeys,
booty crack,
you got the whole shit poppin' out.
It's-it's showing it all.
You cuttin' in the coochie.
That's why they called coochie cutters.
[hip-hop music playing]
Like, thinking about booty shorts,
like, in the best way possible, though.
Like, you had enough cheek,
but not like the whole cheek.
And I think that left something
for mystique.
Mwah. Magnifique.
Come on, baby
Kick them Dazzeys
But honestly speaking,
that's the epitome
of the homegrown Southern woman.
Back then it wasn't no BBL.
Bitches had real asses [laughs]
and it was the real deal.
You know, you put shorts on
and you lookin' fine,
and it ain't no enhancements,
it's just all real Black beautifulness.
[speaker 1] You know how
some people have some in-inhibition,
you know, that they just
want to do somethin'
that they just know they can't do at home
because they know people
in their neighborhood,
they know people at their schools,
and their parents will somehow find out.
I mean, you come out to another place
and then it's like
a whole bunch of people from other places
who don't know you
and you kinda feel like, "Okay,
well, maybe I can get away
with this here," you know?
Well, some people actually
like that at home,
which we're not gonna talk about.
[speaker 2] Baby, it's Freaknik.
It's Freaknik, baby.
Do that, do that, baby.
It's Freaknik baby. It's called Freaknik.
["Freak Like Me"
by Adina Howard playing]

[Rasheeda] The joy for women
for Freaknik, I would say,
was just the fact of just being outside
and having fun and having
a really, really good time.
It was just different levels of, you know,
what women did or wanted to do.
[indistinct chatter]
[Too Short] The couple of Freakniks
that I just hold dear,
it was like art.
She'd just drop it in them shorts,
respect the space.
You got a video camera
or take a few pictures,
and the girl keep on movin'
and, you know,
it was like her little hero moment
or her-her showcase moment
of, like, "Check this out, boys."
You know, some women automatically knew,
you know, like, "Hey, this Freaknik,
I'm finna go crazy," you know?
And other women was just like,
"You know what?
This is the time to have fun.
I might do a little extra,
but not too much."
And some of us was just normal,
just like kickin' it, having fun,
and just being able to really just
be around everybody.
[Anjanette Levert]
Freaknik was a form of expression,
but I would actually say liberation.
It was an opportunity
for them to express themself
without the fear of backlash.
You began to see women
articulating their sexual agency,
their sexual freedom, differently.
[Ronda] What we're,
we're looking at is, you know,
Black women kind of
flexing their sexuality.
You know, you have to understand,
TLC had come out.
If I need it in the morning
or the middle of the night
I ain't too proud to beg, no
[Ronda] And then, you know,
Left Eye was wearing the condom
and so forth,
and it was just saying to girls
it's okay that--
you know, if you wanna have sex,
you know, on your own terms, it's okay.
I just think that as young women,
it was becoming more acceptable
for you to be free
and not necessarily for it to be
something that the guy wanted.
[Maurice] There were some young ladies
that were looking for young men.
Of course there were some young men
that were looking for young ladies.
People were on the prowl.
-[speaker 1] What's your name?
-[speaker 1] Michelle what?
-[speaker 2] Michelle Sexy.
-That's her name.
I wanna know is everybody
really having sex at Freaknik?
Because, like, I'm not having sex,
but everybody keeps asking me to have sex.
If I tell you no then that means no,
like, so why you keep
asking me to do it to you?
I'm not doing to everybody
that ask me to do it to 'em.
We decided we-- we were gonna
change the rules a little...
...and instead of the girls showing off,
-all the guys--
-We wanna see, we wanna see
-what they have to offer.
-Penis. Like, ass.
Like, guys will come up and say,
"Can we see your tits?
Can we take a picture of your tits?"
We'll, turn around.
"Can take a picture of your dick?
-And some of 'em--
-And they run.
Most of 'em are scared.
-Most of 'em are.
-[overlapping chatter, laughter]
Maybe we took some pictures.
But another thing,
the guys gotta understand
that we pick and choose
-who we want at Freaknik this year.
[cheering, indistinct shouting]
[Ronda] I mean, people are young,
they're trying to hook up.
They're like, "Oh, you're cute.
You're cute," you know.
I want y'all to introduce
y'all selves to my man.
I'm Artelia.
And that's Brandy over there.
-What's your name?
-[speaker 1] Tory.
-What's up, Tory?
-[Tory] What's happenin'?
-Have fun, y'all. Be safe.
-[Tory] Alright, you too.
-[speaker 2] Where y'all going?
-[Artelia] Why? Where is there to go?
[speaker 2]
Luke just started his little concert.
The Platinum House is bumpin',
Piedmont Park.
[Clay Evans] We in the streets,
you just pulling up on any car,
talking to the women,
or you in the park.
You know that was a time
when you wrote phone numbers down.
So in your pocket you might have,
"Dark-skinned girl in the gray car."
Dark and lovely, what's up?
I'm alright. What's your claim to fame?
[Clay] You know,
you-you ain't know no names.
You-You might get a few names,
but, "Girl with the green dress on
in tennis shoes," you know.
-Hey, where the party at?
-Where the party at?
Where the bad boy party at?
There was just so many girls,
it was like a candy store of-of girls
and I assume for girls
it was a candy store of guys.
Like, at the end of the day it was like,
just all these young Black people
from everywhere.
["Going Home" by Captain Qubz playing]
Going home
We're going home
[speaker 1] So what's
the message you wanna send
to the ladies in Atlanta during Freaknik?
All you ladies of Atlanta,
if you ain't freakin', I ain't speakin'.
-[speaker 1] Whatever.
[all] Aah!
It was like people
enjoying themselves, having fun,
meetin' people, communicatin'.
-Ohh! Oh, wait, you see that?
[speaker 2] That shit's so sexy.
-[speaker 3] Your navel ring.
-Ooh, man.
-[speaker 4] Let me see.
I gotta get, wait, zoom in,
zoom in on that.
[Rasheeda] You know, nowadays everybody
be so worried about certain shit.
We wasn't worried about shit then.
All we wanted to do was have fun
and that's exactly what we did.
[Killer Mike]
Well, '93 was a free-for-all.
It was just a big traffic jam party.
[Shanti] People were everywhere
'cause it wasn't contained
in one particular area.
It was kinda taking over the city.
[speaker] People were
hanging outta cars and yelling.
I said, "Oh, my goodness,
I don't know what to expect."
And then someone told me
that it gets worse.
Atlanta, Georgia.
Thousands of
African-American college students
are flocking south for Freaknik.
About 150,000 students are expected
to converge on Hotlanta.
This weekend is expected
to ring in about $20 million.
-[upbeat music playing]
-[horns honking]
Spring 1994.
Atlanta is on tilt.
[Patrick "Pat" Morrison]
'94 was the best. That was prime.
My favorite Freaknik was '94.
That's when it really popped,
'cause the city wasn't ready for it.
I hope my wife ain't watching this,
but I met a lot of girls
and I'm having a ball out here.
It was unbelievable.
I mean, every street, everywhere you went,
every gas station, hotel, Waffle House,
whatever, just partied the whole time.
[speaker 1]
We just came on the plane.
Don't have a room or nothin'. We just--
We just here.
Even some of the older people
kinda joined in on the fun.
They was throwing barbecues
and hanging out with everybody.
[speaker 2] I got big porterhouse steaks
on there, hamburgers.
You know, just tryin'
to make a vibe for the community
so everybody can have a good time.
[Uncle Luke]
You know, it was our Woodstock.
They had their Woodstock, it was ours.
We was just having a good fuckin' time.
[overlapping chatter]
[horns honking]
[Lil Jon]
It was just the ultimate street party.
Not on one street,
but the entire city of Atlanta
was a street party.
[electronic music playing]
What brings you to Atlanta?
[speaker 1]
Following the crowd. [laughs]
[interviewer] You always
have a good time down here?
I always have a good time.
Even if I can't get to
where I'm supposed to be going,
I still have a good time.
[Too Short]
And it wasn't no traffic control.
People like us, we just parked.
We don't know
where the fuck we left them cars,
just park and just jump in it.
Once you park the car, that's it.
You walkin', you hitchhikin',
you jumpin' in with people.
You-you're doing whatever
to get for point A to--
Ain't no drivin', it's too crowded.
[Lil Jon]
The interstates,
the highway,
nobody moving.
[horns honking]
Hey, yo, we should have walked, man.
What's really going on?
It was like the traffic was the Freaknik.
["Scrub da Ground" by Kidd Money
and Splack Pack playing]
Round and round you go
Round and round you go
Round and round you go
Let me hear you say,
"Scrub da ground"
Scrub da ground
Let me hear you say,
"Scrub da ground"
The middle of Peachtree Street,
dancing, playing your music.
It was a club outside the club, as well.
[people shouting]
People watching you,
people laughing, people filming you.
Nobody's shootin'.
Then a girl from another car
runs up to your car
and you ain't trippin'.
You let her stand
on top of your hood of your car,
and it's a moment.
["Scrub da Ground" continues playing]
[speaker] Freaknik!
[indistinct shouting]
-Here we go, here we go
Head gotta get his money worth, hoe
It was so much fun, though.
[indistinct shouting]
[interviewer] You came all the way
from Nashville for this?
All the way from Nashville, Tennessee.
-[interviewer] Why?
-Why? 'Cause I heard about the Freaknik,
and I heard that it was at least
about 250,000 people that comes here.
That means money in your pocket.
[speaker] A lot of money.
["Where Dem Dollas At"
by Gangsta Boo playing]
-Where the dollars at?
-I'm chief in' heavy, understand me
-Baby this Gangsta Boo
-Where the dollars at?
Where the dollars at?
Where the dollars at?
-Where the dollars at?
-I'm chief in' heavy, understand me
-Baby this Gangsta Boo
-Where the dollars at?
[salesperson] You can rent this phone
for $8.99 a month.
-No down payment.
-[customer] Really?
-And then--
-So what if you got bad credit?
Well, then you're out of,
out of getting a phone.
-Oh, really?
-You won't be able to get the phone
with bad credit. Sorry.
Atlanta's a "get money" city.
You know what I mean? Trust me.
Because it's-it's got
that entrepreneurial,
that enterprising attitude.
I mean, you could come
set up your shop and get money.
How many bustas gettin' the chance...
[Pat] Well, Walter's is a very
important store in the history of Atlanta,
especially in the Black community.
We sold so many Freaknik T-shirts,
and we sold so much merchandise.
It was great.
[speaker] I've never seen a crowd
with as much cash
and money as these kids had.
They had $100 bills.
They were ordering Dom Prignon
in room service.
[Rico Wade] People was getting
they money on or whatever,
so it became a economic tornado
and I was just watching the city grow.
by OutKast playing]
Rollin' straight Hammers and Vogues
In that old Southern slouch
OutKast came out April 26th.
So, of course, you want
someone to buy your album,
but the best way to get 'em
to buy your album
is to give them a sampler.
It was a cassette tape where on one side
you might have Player's Ball...
...but on the other side
you got a minute's snippet
of Git Up, Git Out,

a minute snippet of Crumblin' Erb,
a minute snippet of other songs
that's on the album.
["Crumblin Erb" by OutKast plays]
OutKast's sampler spread like weeds.
It just, it-it was like
you was hearin' in everybody car,
and it meant you was cool.
[hip-hop music playing]
[Big Boi] And we just here, I'm sayin',
trying to put Atlanta out there.
You know what I'm sayin'?
To let people know Atlanta is here
and-and they got some real players
in this game down here.
You know what I'm saying?
[CeeLo Green]
Well, around that time we were grinding,
living under one roof,
living at the Dungeon.
It was about putting a focus
on Andr and Big Boi
and making sure that, you know,
they made it across the lines.
[KP] I think the Dungeon family,
we owe Freaknik
as the first place that gave us virility,
because that's where we dropped the tapes.
We didn't have a phone where
you could just send someone a link
and anybody in the world could get it.
So this was the only opportunity
to catch this many Black people
of our age in one place
in a captive situation,
'cause traffic was fucked up,
so you give a person a tape, they put it
in their cassette player right then.
Freaknik was an opportunity for us
to really do hand-to-hand distribution
and promote our artists in a way that
we had never been able to do it before.
And it was really dope. Like,
you could literally ride down the street
and every car was bumping our cassette
that we had passed out.
It was a marketer's dream.
So we went balls-to-the-wall
and spent all we needed
to spend on street promotions.
I used to have to go
into strip clubs, you know,
to take the OutKast music.
I remember a gentleman's club
was poppin' during Freaknik.
It was, like, Monday nights
was, like, the hottest night
at the gentleman club.
["Nasty Dancer" by Kilo Ali playing]
Yeah, get money
Do what I want her to
Strip clubs run everything.
You want your music broke,
you gotta go to the strip club.
You want to be that dude,
you wanna be seen,
you gotta go to the strip club.
And to get your name
up out here in the streets,
you gotta go to the strip club.
...get paid here the table though
Put a leg band on you a project ho
[Playa Poncho]
Strip clubs in Atlanta, like we say,
"We ain't got no sand,
we ain't got no beaches,
all we got these Georgia peaches,"
you know what I'm saying?
Not much butt but I wonder
what it shaped like
You want your music in the, in the club
and you don't wanna force it,
or you wanna find a person
that like it and make it
be a part of they set.
So, it wasn't about just,
um, going to see naked women
as much as it was going to
get a post with the CD on.
[horn honking]
Don't stop, get it, get it, don't stop
[Rico] At that time,
college radio and community radio
is where you heard hip-hop.
It was changing from a Miami-based culture
to its own identity
and we were the forefront of that.
We led the way.
[DJ Nabs]
You move into '95,
we got a rap station now
in Atlanta, 24 hours.
Now we're playing OutKast's music,
all Rico Wade,
Goodie Mob, we're playing Cool Breeze.
We're breaking records
and we're not even trying
'cause it was so much rap
and it's from the South
and we can play it.
That changes everything.
It was an opportunity
to realize how much talent
was right below the surface in Atlanta
that was about to bubble up
to the top and be extraordinary.
[Killer Mike] I would argue
that Freaknik gave Atlanta
a stage for the world to see Atlanta
in a different light.
And we weren't just
a small town masquerading
as a big city anymore.
[Juan Antonio Samaranch]
The International Olympic Committee
has awarded the 1996 Olympic Games
to the city of Atlanta.
[audience cheering]
-[upbeat music playing]
-[cheering continues]
[newscaster 1] There you have it.
The announcement is in.
Atlanta, Georgia will be the site
of the 1996 Summer Olympics.
[newscaster 2] And this city is now
an international city,
there's no two ways about it.
Winning the Centennial Olympic Games
and beating Athens, Greece
was transformational for Black people.
That was a critical moment where Atlanta
became the most important city
for Black culture
in the United States of America.
And it put Atlanta
on the global map forever.
[Marc] It was very clear
that Atlanta was about to change
its fortune dramatically.
You were gonna have billions of people
around the world
watching Atlanta, knowing Atlanta's name,
suddenly wanting to visit Atlanta,
suddenly wanting to invest in Atlanta.
Leading up to the Olympics, Atlanta was
one of the most exciting places
to be in the world.
Have you ever heard
anybody go to the Olympics
and come back feeling like they lost?
Just the fact that we got here
makes us a winner.
[Legendary Jerry] The Olympics
was great for the city of Atlanta.
But the Olympics wasn't
really great for Freaknik.
-[camera shutter clicking]
-[sirens wailing]
["Whatz Up, Whatz Up A-Town Mix"
by L.A. Sno and Playa Poncho playing]
[crowd shouting]
[shouting, excited chatter]
Whatz up, whatz up
The Dirty South,
that's how we do it down here.
On the road, True and D.
We goin' down to Georgia right quick,
checkin' out this Freaknik action
for the weekend.
One time for the girls
with the big butts
-Let's buck, whatz up, whatz up
-Whatz up, whatz up?
-Let's hit tha sets
'Cause tons be jag...
[DJ Kizzy Rock]
When Freaknik went from just
the colleges knowing about it,
into the streets and the hood
started knowing about it,
it took on a whole 'nother shape and form.
[Rasheeda] Just started to get
a lot more out control
because people were coming by the masses.
[Kathleen] You got 35-, 40-year-old men
coming to Freaknik.
Well, isn't this a college event?
No, people were just coming.
They were drawn by "Freaknik."
And Freaknik became more about
the "freak" than the "nik."
-[hip-hop music playing]
-[indistinct chatter]
[horn honks]
[people shouting]

There was a flatbed truck.
I'm sitting behind this truck,
and there are women,
they're all sitting
with their legs wide open
and no underwear.
It was insane.
The things that I saw,
I was just glad
that my kids weren't in my car.
Everybody had their system bumpin'
and some people had the women
on top of the cars
or they-- women had themselves
on top of the cars,
or hanging out the car.
One guy's charging, so you could see.
It's like a peep show.
That's probably
the best way to explain it.
[Shanti] People just kinda started
getting disrespectful.
Like, some of the guys
just started wildin' too much,
and it didn't really
feel like the good time
and the fun that it used to be.
-[woman squeals]
-[speaker] Hey, there your man!
Are you gonna come back next year?
No, I'm not coming back.
This year I'm getting out of Atlanta.
I'm leaving Friday morning,
and I won't be back until Sunday evening.
It's no fun anymore.
[Marc] There are people
who didn't like Freaknik
because they thought
that it was not a good representation
of Black people.
If you're coming to hang body parts
outside various parts of the car,
you're not welcome.
They ain't say that about Daytona.
They ain't say that about Corpus Christi.
You know, I hate to be that guy,
but they don't say that about them places
that they doing
some of the same things or even worse.
Why is it such an issue here
with the Freaknik,
but it's not at Fort Walton Beach,
you know?
Everybody else down there
partying just as hard.
[speaker 1] Well, because
of the actual portrayal, I think,
that scene that it's just
a lewd gathering,
and a lot of people I think sometimes
are afraid of that image.
Of course it was gon'
start coming with its problems,
because, shit, a lot of times
these white folks
don't wanna see
all these Black people out here
kickin' and havin' fun like they doin'.
They wanna stop that.
They were smoking marijuana,
they were drinking,
totally disrespectful, everybody.
They was urinating in people's yards.
This year was a disaster.
Nothing good has ever come from Freaknik.
[speaker 2] You know, if it was
a calm event, I would have no problem,
but from the past problems
we've had with Freaknik,
I'm totally against it.
[speaker 3] And I'm gonna
keep at this till we sit down
with the mayor and discuss openly
why we don't want Freaknik in Atlanta.
[indistinct chatter]
Memphis in the house, baby! Freaknik...
So, I mean, that was always a-a thread
in the nuance behind Freaknik
and most things that are
controversial within the city
is the dynamics between
the Black culture and the white culture.
[tense music playing]
Galveston, white area,
Daytona Beach, white.
But when you looked at Atlanta,
this is our shit.
This is a Black government, Black town.
So you would have expected
that they would've embraced Freaknik
in a better way.
[Clay] When the eye of the world
is on you,
it's a different experience
because you gotta make sure the foreigners
are comfortable when they come in here.
There's a certain way
you gotta present yourself.
Atlanta's got its arms around it,
ready for it,
prepared to put on the best Olympics
the world's ever seen.
[Marc] Atlanta understood
that this was prime time
and they did everything they could
to be ready for it.
And so for some people,
as they're trying
to build that reputation,
as they're trying
to grow toward the Olympics,
Freaknik was an unnecessary distraction
and a problem.
[Kasim] Mayor Campbell
had embraced Freaknik
when it was a more manageable event,
as most people did.
Because we felt that we had
a sacred responsibility
for Black college students
from all across the United States.
Uh, it changed into something else.
The Olympics was the biggest event
in the history of the city
and we had to deliver it.
And so I think that he had
to make some tough decisions.
While Freaknik did attract
a million young college-aged Black folk
to descend upon the city,
the Olympics attracted 10 million.
Freaknik may have brought
$15 million to the city coffers.
The Olympics brought two billion.
This is a business decision
that Bill Campbell is making.
People act outraged about the social
and the cultural and the moral stuff.
That's not what usually
drives change in this country.
The bottom line is money.
And there were a lot of business owners
who felt like when the city shut down
that they couldn't run their businesses.
And so a lot of the complaints you saw,
it wasn't that they were morally outraged.
If they could've got paid,
they'd have kept Freaknik going forever.
It was because they couldn't
make their money as usual.

[speaker] So this has been
Freaknik weekend.
We've been here the whole weekend
actually since Thursday
at the National Paper Trade Association
at the Hyatt.
[George Hawthorne]
At that point in time, Atlanta had
the largest convention center
in the country.
And the difference
of 100,000 business people
that come into town for a convention,
staying at hotels, eating at restaurants,
far outweighed the folks coming into town
for a Freaknik weekend.
[Ronda] When you have an environment
that is not conducive
and welcoming to the convention business,
then that becomes a problem.
No one should have to
close their business.
No one should have to downsize their staff
because they know
that their staff can't get in.
[Killer Mike]
There was a turning of the Black dollar,
it just wasn't as traditional
as Atlanta was used to,
'cause this has always
been a convention city.
[Kathleen] I mean, it was just
not a comfortable period
for that kind of business.
And, yes, there are people
that brought, uh, money to the city,
but I'm not sure where they spent it,
um, because a lot of the places
you couldn't get to.
What I saw in '96 is,
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, y'all can't do that.
"Y'all can't drive here,
these streets is barricaded.
"These hotels don't want us in the lobby.
"These rooms aren't sold,
but they're not selling them to us.
"These restaurants aren't full,
but they don't necessarily
want us in 'em."
[Killer Mike] The city prepped
for the Olympics by...
cleaning up,
filling potholes,
and unfortunately putting
poor, disenfranchised people out.
I mean, you know what?
I don't really think that it was personal.
I just think that it was a game
of "big bank take little bank."
Atlanta gets a small preview
of this Summer's Olympic crowds
this weekend.
Plans are underway to reroute traffic
for the city's annual Freaknik gathering.
Every year, tens of thousands of students
from historically Black
colleges and universities
converge on Atlanta for a weekend of fun.
In addition to concerns
about traffic and crowd control,
officials are worried
the crowds may hamper
around-the-clock Olympic preparations.
At that point, Freaknik was different.
It wasn't what we
dreamed about in the '80s,
it wasn't what we
talked about in the '90s.
Now, suddenly, Freaknik was something
that the city was trying to control.
Bill wanted to move the name
even away from Freaknik.
[newscaster] George Hawthorne
is chairman of the planning committee
for what they tried to call
Black College Spring Break.
Participants, many of them
who were not college students,
called it Freaknik.
The Spring Break Planning Committee
was put together as a way to try to see
if this thing could be
organized in a fashion.
I went into it with the open attitude,
let's see if we can make this work,
let's see what the real issues are,
and let's solve those issues
and see if this thing can be salvaged
as a cultural event for Atlanta.
And when I took on this-this position,
I said that if in fact that I cannot,
as a parent and as a civic-minded person,
deliver a safe and sane event
for the participants
and the people of Atlanta,
that I'll be the first to stand up
and say it's got to go.
[siren wailing]
[siren chirping]
[imitating siren wailing, chirping]
[DJ Kizzy Rock]
But Bill Campbell had started
implementing a plan where
we gonna block all the exits off
and we're gonna make 'em go this route,
like kind of take 'em
all the way out the loop of everything
before they was lettin' 'em
get off the highway.
[newscaster] To prevent potentially
hazardous backups onto the interstate,
all the Freaknik jam moved
from downtown into midtown.
With nightfall,
police blocked off most exits
from the downtown connector.
[horns honking]
Just imagine every exit being blocked.
They had the highway patrols
in front of every exit,
so if you're driving the expressway,
you had, you had to just keep driving.
[DJ Kizzy Rock]
Now if you from out of town,
then you don't really know where to go.
'cause, you know, we weren't using GPSs
and all that back then.
They don't know where to go.
So that started breaking down the energy.
[indistinct chatter]
What do you think of all this traffic?
It's crazy.
[speaker] Y'all having fun?
-[speaker] No?
-You don't like this traffic, right?
It was fucked up.
Can I say that? [chuckles]
The traffic was fucked up.
And what it did,
it actually paralyzed the city
for, like, the whole weekend.
When I got off work from Walter's,
it took me at least three hours
just to make it
to the expressway to go home.
And it was not ordinary traffic.
You know, people talk about
Atlanta traffic all the time,
it's a thing,
but this was not ordinary traffic.
Ambulances couldn't get through.
People were having weddings
that they couldn't get
through to the weddings.
You trying to drive around a certain time
on a certain street,
you might not get
from one corner to the next
in an hour or two.
If you lived in Atlanta,
you didn't wanna leave your house.
You went the other way.
I knew people that actually took trips.
It was like, "Oh, okay.
Oh, Freaknik is this weekend?
Okay, bet, I'm going on vacation."
We basically stayed in the downtown area
because the traffic was very hectic
and we didn't wanna drive.
It's so much of a struggle,
so difficult trying
to figure out the reroutings,
it's not even worth going outside.
They could've just told us not to come.
He should've said, "We ain't havin' it."
A lot of people came from a long way,
and they don't have anything to do.
I mean, what is he gonna do? Stop
every Black, uh, college student he sees
coming into Atlanta and tell 'em
they cannot enter the city?
It's totally ludicrous.
This is where we have fun.
If you try to stop all the traffic,
you know, with us just gathering around,
you know, it might--
something bad might happen.
What's up, mayor?
-[police shout]
-I'm saying, I don't know why,
I don't know why you had the cops
blocking off all the exits, man,
keeping people from coming
into the city during Freaknik.
Well, first of all,
we wanna reassure the public
that Atlanta is a safe place.
All this isn't called for.
You see the riot patrol,
you see the horses.
I mean, it shows
that we locked down like in a prison.
So, you know, it's kinda messed up.
There was a lot of... tension
that kinda comes around Freaknik.
And be-because of that,
of course it made the police
that much more vigilant,
because, I mean, there was
real firepower out on the streets.
[George] And I think
that to a certain extent,
when some of the more heavy-handed
police tactics were involved,
was a way to show that in fact
we could control this large event.
[sirens blaring]
[KP] And, you know, and at that point
I think that's where...
the decline happened, right?
[soft, melancholic music playing]
[dramatic sting]
[tense music playing]
Atlanta Police have caught a glimpse
of the dark side of the party.
We have had two cases of reported rape.
One of the alleged attacks
happened away from the crowd
in an apartment.
The other, police say,
was frighteningly similar
to this assault captured
by Chopper 5 Friday night
and later showed to police.
[tense music continues]
So this is spring 1998.
My best friend at the time
and I had a party to go to.
And so we're, like, anxious
to get to our friend's place,
um, in Marietta,
and so we can't.
And we can't because of these barricades
and these roadblocks
keeping us from
heading to the north side of town.
And what's on the north side
of town at that time?
White people and affluent neighborhoods.
-[traffic noise, distant horns honking]
-[helicopter whirring]
So we are forced, basically,
to go south of town.
So, my roommate has to get gas,
she gets out, she uses the bathroom,
she comes back in the car,
realizes her purse is gone.
So she storms all the way down the street,
parks in the middle turning lane,
gets out of the car and storms the crowd,
trying to get her purse.
And some guy jumps into the driver's side,
driver-driver's seat of the car.
So, we start fighting in the car.
So I, basically, I sucker punch him,
and we start tussling in the car,
because I didn't want him to drive off
with me in the car, leaving my roommate.
And so, um, we're fighting,
the crowd is starting to come
from both sides of the street.
So someone opens up my car door
and starts to pull me out.
And they drag me on the ground
and just start--
just start ripping at all my clothing.
Just start rippin', rippin', rippin'.
And I would say there were
probably 10 active guys
pu-- almost, like,
kind of like taking turns.
The only thing
that saved me from getting raped
was a man yelled out, "Police."
And then, um,
the crowd kind of just scatters.
It-- well, it doesn't scatter.
Kind of loosens up, if you will.
Um, when I got up,
both breasts were out of the shirt.
The shirt was ripped.
Only the elastic, um,
was holding my skirt together.
My hair was all over the place,
as you can imagine.
I was cut and bruised and the whole nine.
I'm like, "What the hell just happened?"
And I'm scared and, you know,
all these emotions
on top of anger and frustration,
because where are the people
that are supposed to protect and serve?
[tense, pensive music playing]
[newscaster] Police say
they may be able to control the traffic,
but they cannot always control the crowd,
so they're warning women
to have fun, but be careful.
[Stacy] So there was nothing
that the Atlanta Police Department
did to follow up.
I never got an apology. I never--
Not that I was expecting one,
um, but nothing happened.
It's kind of like the mayor
and the police chief,
I feel like they were
enablers, in a sense.
They were protecting one group of people
but exposing another group of people
to the possibility
of something like this to happen.
Atlanta, Georgia, Freaknik.
50,000 attendees, 481 arrests,
four for rape, six for fondling.
The majority of the major problems
caused by non-college students.
[speaker] It could be anybody,
you know what I'm saying?
You get-- you're at the wrong
place at the wrong time,
anything can happen to you, you know?
You can have fun, but it's also dangerous.
Guys was reaching inside
the girl's sunroof top,
grabbing on their breasts.
Or if the girls was
walking down the street,
they were going up under
their dress and everything
and I felt like the women
were being violated.
While police say there is no excuse
and no provocation for rape,
sexuality has become
an almost sideshow on the streets.
There is a narrative in this country
that Black men are sexually violent,
sexual predators, sexually irresponsible,
and it's important
that we don't reinforce that idea
by suggesting that Freaknik
was just filled
with these crazy, violent,
Black male sexual predators.
[crowd clamoring]
There was a lot of harassment,
there was a lot of unwanted touching,
and there was, in some cases, rape.
But most people who attended Freaknik
did not participate
in any kind of sexual misconduct.
That's important.
[indistinct shouting]
So after the attack,
So, again, I was just
in this weird mental state,
um, kind of blah, but then angry, um,
and I was afraid of crowds.
Um, and I was specifically,
unfor-- and unfortunately,
afraid of Black crowds,
um, because I, unfortunately,
were attacked by my brothers.
Like, I didn't-- for the life of me,
I couldn't get it.
I'm like, certainly,
clearly you have a mom,
clearly you got a grandmama,
um, you know, sister, auntie,
you know, somewhere along those lines,
you have females in your life,
and what if it was them?
[crowd shouting]
[Shanti] I did hear about
that unfortunate situation
with that young lady.
Um, several of my friends
felt disrespected
from some of the guys,
like, just unwanted advances
and-and them being rude,
and so that's why, again,
it got to a point where we didn't
really wanna hang out during Freaknik
because it became something different.
[crowd clamoring]
The nature of Freaknik changed...
[indistinct yelling]
...and folks weren't
handling it in the way
that it had been handled before.
[speaker 1] It got to the point
where Freaknik wasn't fun.
Not just the traffic.
The energy started feeling
a lot more, um, predatory.
[woman screams]
[speaker 2] Let me down!
If you have to say,
"Protect Black women" in the 2020s,
then imagine what you
had to say in the 1990s.
[indistinct shouting]
[Kathleen] It just hurt me,
and I came from Spelman,
where our total fabric, DNA,
is about uplifting the greatness of women.
That was just the total opposite
of Atlanta for me.
[indistinct yelling]
[Sharon] Once I saw definitively
the degradation of women,
I had reached my fill with Freaknik.
And there was no coming back from that.
[solemn, tense music playing]
I'm calling this press conference today
to release the report
of the Black College
Spring Break Planning Committee.
We drafted up the final report
and released it to the city
and to the press at the same time.
The man who heads the Black College
Spring Break Planning Committee
is recommending Freaknik,
as it's popularly called, be canceled.
This plan represents
the committee's desire
to get rid of the negative elements
of this event.
The city of Atlanta
is not going to host Freaknik.
It is not an event that, uh,
we feel is appropriate for our city.
It had degraded to a point
where I thought
that Freaknik had become, uh, basically
a time for guys to come
from all over the nation,
have a free-for-all with women in Atlanta,
and it just wasn't fair for us
to put them in that position
by supporting such an event.

No one chastises you
for killing a monster.
And it needs to be known as the monster
that it metastasized to what it was.
And so I think it took
some courageous leadership
on behalf of the mayor
to make this move and to do this.
As Freaknik '99 draws near,
many of those who would attend
say their attentions
are turning elsewhere.
I think it's pretty much gonna be
just like a regular weekend.
I know I have a lot of friends
that are going down to Daytona,
and that's kinda
taking the place of, um, Freaknik.
And so, it's without the hassles
and stuff like that
from the police and other,
uh, city officials.
Freaknik is totally
degrading to women, I believe,
and, I mean, I won't be
participating in it this year.
No, I'm not planning
any Freaknik activities.
I have a lot of work to do.
[speaker 1]
Freaknik is not calling my name.
[speaker 2] It's crazy.
Streets are always blocked off.
It takes you three hours to get home,
guys shake your car, rip your clothes off.
It's not fun for females anymore.
Freaknik needed to die.
[soft, melancholic music playing]

[tape fast-forwarding]
Everything ain't supposed to last forever.
Because what happens is Black kids
has come along generations later
and they revive it in the way
where you remember this amazingness.
Oh, man.
And that's what nostalgia's about.
That's what history's about.
Well, tonight we are less than 48 hours
from the return of Freaknik.
And what?
You don't know about Freaknik?
You haven't lived here that long?
Freaknik ended years ago,
but organizers say
this is the revamped version.
You know, the organizer,
when I spoke to him earlier today,
he really wants people here in Atlanta
to know that you can celebrate Freaknik
in a positive way.
So in 2018, and I saw that Cartoon Network
was the last one to have the trademark
when they did their Freaknik
cartoon series with T-Pain.
[hip-hop music playing]
I'm back!

[Carlos Neal] And once I saw that
the mark was available,
I applied for it,
and then that's when I put in
all the financial resources
to be able to do it.
[slate claps]
[interviewer] So my brother,
um, tell me your name
and what is it that you do?
Carlos Neal.
I am the owner and the founder
of the Freaknik Festival.
[bells dings]
[Tony Wyzard] When we first started,
he came to me and said,
"Hey, I wanna do Freaknik."
I was like, "Really? Freaknik? Okay."
"But it won't be the Freaknik of the past,
"it'll be the new Freaknik.
"We're, we're doing a concert
"and we institute different organizations,
some health fairs and things like that,
not just a party."
I was like, "Oh, okay, great."
I can, you know,
fully support and get behind that
because I think that's something
that Atlanta needed.
When I think of Freaknik, I think of
Freaknik as what you recognize it as.
-And what we all recognize it as,
because we lived that shit.
You know, from year-in to year-out
and cars and the partying and all that,
that's how it should be.
If you don't--
if you ain't experienced Freaknik,
you don't know how to treat Freaknik.
-[Uncle Luke] Right.
-You can't just buy the name.
[21 Savage] You can own T-shirts
that say "Freaknik" on 'em,
but you can't own, like,
the essence of Freaknik.
You know what I'm saying?
That's just how I feel.
["When I say Freak you say Nik"
by Playa Poncho playing]
-Freak, F-Freak
When I say Freak you say Nik
People are trying to bring Freaknik back,
but Freaknik will never be
what Freaknik was.
[indistinct shouting]
You can get you a-a park
and do your big party
and call it Freaknik,
but the actual lifestyle
of living of Freaknik,
that will never happen again.
Everything has changed.
Everybody's so uptight now
and you can't even
step on somebody's shoe.
Like, we had thousands
and thousands of people
just on the streets of Atlanta partying,
nobody pulling out guns,
nobody trying to kill each other.
We were just trying to have a good time.
[indistinct chatter]
We weren't worried about likes,
we weren't worried about follows.
And you know what else
we weren't worried about?
"Ah-ha, I got you!" moments.
It was a celebration of our heritage,
a celebration of our Blackness.
And now with social media,
I don't think that could exist.
Come show that ass
like your mama and them do.
[Stacy] I think that Freaknik,
um, was old Atlanta,
and for those of us
who were living in Atlanta
or frequent visitors
of Atlanta at that time,
understand the difference.
It's just a completely different city.
["My Boo" by Ghost Town DJ's playing]
Boy, you should know that
I think there is nostalgia about Freaknik
because it started in such a good place.
It started with a pure intent.
But there were some
vile things that happened.
That's part of the legacy.
That's not going to go away.
That didn't happen during that nostalgic,
early, wonderful part
when it was just the students
of the AU Center.
...give me a call boo
What we birthed,
that they can't own.
-DC Metro...
-[all] DC Metro Club!
["My Boo" continues playing]
College students need
something that is theirs.
Young people need places
where they can go and gather
and not have to be treated
as if they're unwanted.
We need Freaknik.
Every night I pray I can call...
[Marc] We might not need
the name Freaknik,
we might not need the same city
or the same location,
but we need Black joy.
We need Black culture.
We need spaces for us to unwind
and to connect and to bond,
and not on the Internet!
Every weekend
just to see my boo again
These young people right now, today,
they want Freaknik in their lives.
At night I think of you
I want to be your...
[Uncle Luke]
Freaknik was a real serious thing.
No, it wasn't no revolution,
but in a sense it was a revolution.
I mean, it was.
Everything that is here now
comes from this--
not too far away from this era.
[Shanti] Oh, the seeds
that we planted paved the way.
There would be no Future without OutKast.
No T.I. without Goodie Mob.
You know, Southern hip-hop went mainstream
on the streets of Atlanta during Freaknik.
It made me understand how Black youth
has the power to expand
and spread culture by itself.
But if you can please me
I think the legacy of Freaknik
is just creativity.
My love will come easy
The legacy of Freaknik is Black joy,
Black self-determination,
Black music, Black education.
[Adamma] From the fashion
to the music to the culture.
Like Andr's famous line said...
The South got something to say,
that's all I got to say.
It was so big of an influence.
-I mean, Chevys and dunks and...
-[Jermaine] Oh, yeah.
[Uncle Luke]
...and dancing on top of cars.
Freaknik changed music.
In my opinion, it helped build the South.
People just massively coming to Atlanta.
It was like a meeting ground.
And a lot of people fell in love with it
-and stayed for the rest of their life.
-Oh yeah. Yeah, 100%.
-Definitely. They never left.
Shit, I don't know how many girls
I fell in love with here.
[indistinct chatter, cheering]
[Killer Mike]
Freaknik was and is the reason
you'll never be able to tell
your mama and daddy
you partied harder than them.
Trust me, your mama and daddy got down.
[camera shutter clicks]
Uh, ladies and gentlemen,
Freaknik is not to be brought back,
you motherfuckers. It's over.
I'm tired of you niggas
trying to resurrect this shit.
You need to let it go!
You didn't think you was
gonna get that answer.
["Freaknik '96"
by Chuck Inglish playing]
They saw yo mama down in Freaknik
That's where all the freaks went
The Kawasakis and them Jeeps
The 1996 Olympic Team
She stoppin' traffic, shakin' cheeks
Shakin', shakin'
Beep, beep, who got my keys?
She out in traffic shakin' cheeks
Shakin', shakin', shakin'
Beep, beep, who got my keys?
Could you Tootsie Roll for me
like it was 1993?
Panasonic VHS,
we 'bout to shoot a scene
I mean, I see you in cut-off jeans
Them tiny strings, you drive a Jeep
Came from the beach,
came down to see me
You and Sheena tag team me
69 Boyz, 95 South,
we too live
Whoop, there it is
like I'm Luke
Now raise the roof
Who is you?
Oh that's yo boo
That So So Def, JD and Toomp
Two more girls in daisy dukes
And they won't come down
from my roof
Look at my roof
I've been a playa all my life so,
it's been Freaknik for me for a long time.