WTOP caught up with a few of Freaknik’s authentic creators as Hulu’s new documentary “Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told” makes the rounds with curious viewers.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley explores the ‘Freaknik’ documnetary on Hulu (Part 1)

Hulu viewers are presently having fun with the brand new documentary “Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told,” however do you know that the Atlanta competition was really sparked by artistic of us from our space?

WTOP caught up with D.C. natives Amadi Boone, Monique Tolliver-Logan and Emma Horton-Ferguson, who had been pivotal in Freaknik’s creation in Atlanta after they had been school college students again within the early ’80s.

From left to proper: James “Tony” Anthony Towns Sr, Monique Tolliver-Logan, Amadi Darryl Boone, Sharon Toomer, Emma Horton-Ferguson. (Photo by Tony Towns)

“I grew up right here in Washington D.C. and was a pupil at Woodrow Wilson High School, left D.C. and went to Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, the place I joined a company of scholars within the Atlanta University Center [called] the D.C. Metro Club,” Boone mentioned. “I finally turned the president of the D.C. Metro Club and I used to be the president on the time of the founding of our occasion that got here to be generally known as Freaknik.”

The occasion was based in 1983 for a cluster of traditionally Black faculties and universities within the Atlanta University Center Consortium, together with Morehouse, Spelman, Clark Atlanta and Morris Brown faculties.

“I hail from Southeast D.C. however I went to high school at Potomac High School in Maryland,” Tolliver-Logan mentioned. “When I got here to Spelman College in 1982, I joined the D.C. Metro Club. During that yr, our membership based what got here to be generally known as Freaknik. Prior to the spring of 1983, they’d been having picnics each spring, nevertheless it was in the course of the yr of ’82-’83 that we determined by way of our govt board to take it up a notch.”

The title got here from combining the dance “The Freak” and the time period picnic — therefore “Freaknik.”

“We had been undoubtedly generally known as the enjoyable membership,” Boone mentioned. “Tony Towns, who really was my classmate at Woodrow Wilson High School, was the D.C. Metro Club vice chairman after I was president,” Boone mentioned. “He got here up with the thought of, ‘Let’s deliver again The Freak.’ … Chic had ‘Le Freak,’ Rick James had ‘Superfreak,’ so we simply introduced again that identify to our events. That’s the way it got here to be merged into the title of our spring picnic.”

The documentary reveals how the standard beginnings of Freaknik had been way more harmless.

“In the early days, our focus was actually on us having a enjoyable spring break exercise,” Boone mentioned. “Many individuals didn’t get to go dwelling for spring break, possibly it was for monetary causes, possibly they’d faculty work they needed to wrap up and couldn’t journey. … This was sizzling canines, beer and chips within the park. … This was extra of a pupil occasion, it was nothing scandalous about it. It was simply school college students having time.”

Their purpose was not solely to occasion, but additionally to get an opportunity for neighborhood service and cultural change.

“You hear right this moment individuals speak about, ‘Oh, I’m an influencer’ — that phrase wasn’t a factor,” Tolliver-Logan mentioned. “We needed to deliver Washington, D.C. tradition to the Atlanta University Center: our dance, our music — go-go music as you already know could be very totally different from another music — so we had been attempting to affect the AUC tradition of scholars from different states with the Chocolate City taste, if you’ll, so we had been the unique influencers.”

“We weren’t simply influencing Atlanta, we had been influencing the HBCU with what we grew up with, what we valued and what we held and nonetheless maintain treasured to today,” Horton-Ferguson mentioned. “We had been being school college students, younger, gifted and Black, organized and unified. … We simply took it to the road, or to the park … then the streets obtained concerned and it turned one thing completely totally different.”

Soon, the idea entered popular culture due to Spike Lee’s “School Daze” (1988), which was primarily based on Morehouse College, and NBC’s “A Different World” (1987-1993), which noticed its characters attend Freaknik.

“When you have a look at ‘School Daze’ and Spike Lee, he’s a Morehouse man, so he has the expertise, he is aware of the tradition,” Horton-Ferguson mentioned. “To hear ‘A Different World’ speaking about Freaknik on TV, it nonetheless blows my thoughts even after I have a look at the reruns syndicated. We had no inclination what we had been doing.”

By the 90s, the annual occasion blew up right into a vacation spot for out-of-town spring breakers, drawing celebrities from 2Pac to Notorious B.I.G., even three of the University of Michigan’s Fab 5 hoopsters.

“I used to be stunned to be taught by way of watching the documentary how a lot the occasion we began, Freaknik, turned the platform for thus a lot of Atlanta’s gifted musicians and producers to have a spot and a stage to showcase all they needed to provide,” Boone mentioned. “It actually gave start to Atlanta because the hip-hop middle of the South [with Jermaine Dupri, Ludacris and 21 Savage]. They constructed that occasion on high of the Freaknik that we created.”

However, the competition finally gained destructive media consideration for extra partying.

“It grew and grew and grew, and sooner or later there was this transition the place the scholars type of misplaced management of the occasion,” Boone mentioned. “The group was type of taken over by one other entity, if you’ll. … Now there have been tens of 1000’s of individuals, as much as 100,000 individuals. I used to be amazed at listening to these tales.”

Freaknik was finally shut down in 1998, leaving solely reminiscences of a distinct period.

“I’m actually happy with how effectively they confirmed the journey from the start to the unlucky demise,” Tolliver-Logan mentioned. “The Olympics got here in ’96 … and it was due to the Olympics that they not needed Freaknik to be an occasion as a result of Atlanta turned the world stage. … My understanding is that a variety of the assist that they’d hoped to get from town in these latter years, I don’t assume they had been capable of get.”

Now, the rise and fall of Freaknik is documented for all to see on Hulu.

“When we began it, we didn’t know that it will change into a motion, nevertheless it’s simply superb to take a seat again and have a look at what our membership did,” Tolliver-Logan mentioned. “Numerous my footage had been used within the documentary. I didn’t know on the time after I was taking footage for the yearbook that I might be capable of use these footage on a giant display screen. It’s a testomony that if you’re doing one thing at some point, you don’t know what it’ll blossom into.”

WTOP’s Jason Fraley explores the ‘Freaknik’ documnetary on Hulu (Part 2)

Hear our full dialog on the podcast under:

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