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For the Adult Swim television special, see Freaknik: The Musical.

Freaknik was an annual spring break meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, primarily of students from historically black colleges and universities.[1] Begun in 1983 as a small picnic near the Atlanta University Center, it was initially sponsored by the DC Metro Club [1] and was typically held during the third weekend in April to coincide with the schools of the Atlanta University Center's Reading Day. The event increased in size and popularity in the 1990s with dancing, drinking, parties, a basketball tournament, rap sessions, a film festival and a job fair.[2]


In its heyday, the fest attracted upwards of 250,000 revelers to the city. However, Atlantans' reception of the festival was mixed. Many residents had attended and enjoyed Freaknik since it was started. Otherwise, Freaknik went largely unnoticed by most of the city. The problems with Freaknik began in 1993, when the number of people coming to Atlanta for the event suddenly doubled to more than 80,000.

Many residents believe the City of Atlanta was caught off guard in 1993 by the increased number of people who came to the city for Freaknik. In some areas, the massive increase in cars on the road caused traffic to come to a halt, and the revelers got out of their cars and started roaming the streets. This in turn caused panic in some areas where people could not get home from their jobs, and they were trapped in areas where many revelers started harassing and yelling obscenities at residents. There were also several reports of violence, looting, rapes and other sexual assaults. All this showed Freaknik in a negative light, and Atlanta residents demanded that the city get control of the event.[3][4][5][6][6][7]

Social problems[edit]

Things came to a head in 1994-96, after the event swelled to 250,000 people from around the country, and as the crowds grew larger, so did the problems. With tens of thousands of more cars on the city's streets, many of Atlanta's major thoroughfares became gridlocked, which disrupted the day-to-day lives of the city's residents and impaired emergency services.[3]

Freaknik moves[edit]

Many Atlanta residents filed lawsuits and business and community leaders pressured Mayor Bill Campbell to end Freaknik or severely crack down on the event. By 1996, the Atlanta police were out in large numbers, making it difficult for the revelers to party in the streets and engage in other illegal behavior.[3] After city leaders took measures to curtail Freaknik's accessibility, its popularity faded. As a result, Freaknik moved East of Atlanta to Memorial Drive in DeKalb County, then to Daytona Beach, Florida. By 1999, celebration of the festival had died down due to heightened police security.

In April 2010, Atlanta officials said "there are no permitted Freaknik-related events inside the city limits." Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed also said that "he will be tough and even sue organizers of any Freaknik-related activities who violate city guidelines".[8]

Cultural influence[edit]

  • Too $hort mentioned Freaknik in "Shake That Monkey" ft Lil Jon
  • Freaknik is referred to in Tom Wolfe's 1998 novel, A Man in Full, where a spontaneous street party breaks out while one of the primary characters is trying to cross Atlanta in his car.
  • Jermaine Dupri reminisces about Freaknik in a remix of Welcome to Atlanta.
  • André 3000 also refers to Freaknik in his song "A Life in the Day of Benjamin André (Incomplete)" off the Love Below side of Outkast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.
  • Big Boi mentions Freaknik in the second verse of Outkast's song Jazzy Belle.
  • Rapper MF Doom refers to Freaknik in "Hoe Cakes" (from the album MM..Food), "Whether a bougie broad, nerd, ho, street chick, don't call her 'wifey' if you met her at the Freaknik."
  • Williams Street Studios produced a 1-hour special spoof titled Freaknik: The Musical based on the popular festival. The show aired on Adult Swim on March 7, 2010.[9]
  • The sitcom Sister, Sister had an episode involving Freaknik.[10]
  • In her 1996 debut album, rapper Lil' Kim rapped, "Want a cheap trick? Better go down to freaknik", in 'Crush on You'.
  • Will Smith refers to Freaknik in the first verse of "I Loved You" from the album "Big Willie Style". "I thought you was the one-hon-yeah, when I met you at the Freaknik..."
  • In the Dogg Pound song "Some Bomb Azz Pussy", rapper Kurupt raps "Atlanta was the place to be, see it was bitches and shit, we had a, show-to-go-do-down-at-the Freaknik..."
  • The WB dramedy Popular featured a scene in an episode titled "I Know What You Did Last Spring Break" where Mary Cherry states that she "went to Freaknik in Hotlanta and turned the mother out," she actually spent her vacation filming a low-budget horror movie titled "Boobs Cockadoodle Doo Monster."[11]
  • In the Too Short song "Just Another Day" from the album "Get in Where You Fit In" Too Short says "I heard about the motherfucking Freaknik, pop that pussy hoe fuck that weak shit. You should've seen all the bitches in the street, niggas from Detroit was deep."
  • August Alsina mentioned Freaknik in "I Luv This Shit (Remix)" ft Trey Songz and Chris Brown
  • In the intro to his mixtape "Dream" on STN MTN / Kauai, Childish Gambino raps "I'd bring back LaFace Records, Freaknik."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Suggs, Ernie (2008-04-14). "Street party became its own undoing". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2008-04-14. It was a heck of a run. From 1983 until 1999, Freaknik — the college picnic that morphed into a sprawling street party — tormented, titillated and drove Atlanta to the brink. 
  2. ^ "Black students converge on Atlanta for Freaknik". CNN. 1997-04-18. Among the other activities planned are a party at a downtown club hosted by Michael Bivins of the hip-hop group "New Edition," a basketball tournament, rap sessions, a film festival and a daylong job fair. 
  3. ^ a b c "Should We Freak Out Over Freaknik? – IL Humanities". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ Kirby, Joseph A. (1997-04-18). "Business | Atlanta Braces Itself For Annual `Freaknik' Spring Break | Seattle Times Newspaper". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  6. ^ a b "Atlanta News / Georgia News Section | AJC". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  7. ^ [2][dead link]
  8. ^ "Reed: Atlanta will not tolerate Freaknik-related trouble". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 2010-04-14. Retrieved 2010-04-15. 
  9. ^ "The Freaknik Is Back... Sort Of | Live | Fashion. Music. Lifestyle". 2010-01-03. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  10. ^ "Sister, Sister (1994–1999)". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  11. ^ "[WB's Popular] Killer stalks Mary Cherry". YouTube. 2007-05-30. Retrieved 2016-07-15.