‘Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told’: Watch First Trailer

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Hulu has unveiled the first official trailer and release date for “Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told,” its original documentary on Atlanta’s legendary annual HBCU Spring Break phenomenon of the ‘80’s and ‘90’s. Set to make its world premiere at SXSW’s film festival before arriving on Hulu March 21, the doc features interviews with politicians, event founders, former partygoers and prominent hip-hop artists, including Lil Jon, Killer Mike, 21 Savage, Jermaine Dupri and Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell — the latter three who are among the film’s producers.

“At its heart, Freaknik is a music documentary,” the film’s director and executive producer, P. Frank Williams, tells Variety. “Luke is the soundtrack of Freaknik, [Dupri’s] So So Def label is directly correlated to Freaknik, and 21 Savage is the new school —they’re fascinated with the wild stuff we did, the clothes and the music of that era.”

Showrunner and executive producer Geraldine L. Porras says, “When we’re talking about Freaknik, it’s hard to tell the story without these key players giving us the context for the culture and putting the stamp on that moment in history for what it was. 21 Savage being such a big influence and example of this generation resonating with it. He really grasped what it was with his Freaknik birthday celebration. It felt like a nice culmination of having these individuals who were not only part of it, but also continue to celebrate Freaknik as executives on this doc.”

While Savage and others too young to experience Freaknik at the time have embraced the version of the days-long party that represents freedom, Black empowerment and the golden era of hip-hop and bass music, the film also deep dives into the event’s origins as well as its troubling ending. While there was no single cause of the event’s downfall, the doc shows how violence, overcrowding, city planning and security concerns surrounding the 1996 Olympics and Atlanta’s tourism all contributed.

“The legacy of Freaknik really started in ‘83, I don’t know if people realized that,” Williams recalls. “It was about kids trying to find a place for Black joy. Freaknik wasn’t just about the party: Our goal was to show how it affected politics, culture, race, there was a lot with sexuality, gender.”

Since Hulu’s announcement last year, there have been plenty of jokes about the footage some of our moms and aunties don’t want us to see — and for good reason. Fortunately, Williams and Porras masterfully deconstruct Freaknik in such a way that it is less about revealing Gen X’ers finding sexual freedom and more about laying bare the issues that made things too complicated for Freaknik to continue.

“This is the highs and the lows of Freaknik,” Porras says. “We wanted this to be something that was celebratory, but we also didn’t want to shy away from the darker sides. All of these things can exist in the same place so we wanted to make sure we included that.”

For the generation that partook in the revelry, the Hulu project has been met with a combination of excitement and unease that’s natural considering that what began as an outlet for college students seeking Black joy and freedom, later devolved into the worst traffic Atlanta has ever seen for some and nightmarish chaos for others. “Freaknik’s” trailer promises to address the event’s complex nature in its totality.

“The turn up, the cars, sexuality, joy, the daisy dukes – that’s the candy of it,” Williams added. “But there’s also some vegetables in it – which is the Black empowerment, police brutality was part of it, Black cultural realization, young women realizing their sexuality, young men too. Freaknik is really a coming of age story about a generation who was trying to find a voice in a world that didn’t accept them — but this is a place they created for themselves. Freaknik is the ultimate personification of that.”

From Mass Appeal in association with Swirl Films, “Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told” is executive produced by Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell, Jermaine Dupri, 21 Savage, Terry “TR” Ross, Melissa Cooper, Alex Avant and Tresa Sanders, Geraldine L Porras and P. Frank Williams serve as executive producers. Eric Tomosunas executive produces for Swirl Films and Peter Bittenbender executive produces for Mass Appeal. The film is produced by Swirl Films’ Jay Allen and Nikki Byles.

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