Hip-hop fans gathered on March 13 at Stubbs venue to celebrate the release of the music documentary Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told.

Photo courtesy of Hulu

By Hannah Nuñez. Photos by Hannah Nuñez

Freaknik: a portmanteau of picnic and freak. It was a time for many late Gen Xers and early Millennials to express their wild sides while celebrating culture and community. After a long development cycle, the documentary about one of the country’s most iconic neighborhood functions made its debut at the 2024 SXSW film festival.

The kickoff concert party, hosted by Hulu and Mass Appeal, served the same purpose that the original Freaknik Festival carried for more than a decade. To create a space full of good people enjoying good music. Featuring a killer lineup including, but not limited to, The Ying Yang Twins, Flo Milli and BigBoi. This blend of throwbacks and new-wave artists pays respect to those who laid the foundation of hip hop while also acknowledging the genre’s timeless.

The documentary takes viewers back to the 1980s block party to experience the drama and culture for themselves. The Freaknik Festival took place every April from 1983 to 1999, gathering partygoers from across the country. Director P. Frank Williams and executive producers Jermaine Dupri, Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell and 21 Savage wanted to show every aspect. While highway shutdowns and “booty shakin’” are the drama that originally attracted crowds, folks stayed for the music and culture.

Before Freaknik was a festival, it was a cookout organized by a group of Black college students from Atlanta. Founders Emma Horton, Amadi Boone, Monique Tolliver and Sharon Toomer were originally looking for a way to kill time over spring break. Instead, they unintentionally formed one of hip hop’s largest festivals. As Freaknik progressed, the festival’s origins of community and Black culture only evolved, impacting hip hop from the A-T-L forever.

“This is our story about our contribution to the culture,” Dupri says at SXSW premier panel. “Through the music and the parties that happened during Freaknik. It’s much more than people standing on top of cars and playing music outside.”

Read more about Austin Woman‘s SXSW 2024 experience!


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