Once upon a time, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was a party in Atlanta that became a legend. It was called Freaknik, and it was a massive celebration of Black culture and music that drew people from all over the country.

The first Freaknik took place in 1983, when a group of students from the Atlanta University Center decided to throw a party in the city. The event grew over the years, eventually attracting tens of thousands of people to Atlanta’s streets, parks, and clubs.

Photo credit WKYS

Freaknik was a wild and raucous party, with music blasting from cars and people dancing in the streets. It was a celebration of Black culture, and many saw it as a way to reclaim public space and assert their presence in a city that was often hostile to Black people.

The party was also controversial, with some Atlanta residents complaining about noise, traffic, and litter. In 1993, the city tried to shut down Freaknik, but the party continued, with attendees blocking streets and defying police orders.

Despite the controversy, many people look back on Freaknik with fondness, as a time when Black people came together to celebrate their culture and have fun. The party was eventually discontinued in the early 2000s, as Atlanta’s demographics changed and the city sought to distance itself from its wilder past.

But for those who were there, Freaknik remains a cherished memory of a time when Atlanta was the epicenter of Black culture and music, and a reminder of the power of collective joy and celebration.

Some of the things people did at Freaknik included:

  1. Party and dance: Freaknik was primarily a party and dance event. People would gather at various locations throughout Atlanta to dance, listen to music, and have a good time.
  2. Car shows: Car shows were a big part of Freaknik, with people showing off their customized cars and competing for prizes.
  3. Barbecue and cookouts: Barbecue and cookouts were a popular way to enjoy the warm weather during Freaknik. People would grill and enjoy food and drinks with friends.
  4. Street vendors: There were also many street vendors selling food, drinks, and merchandise during Freaknik.
  5. Beach and pool parties: In addition to the street parties, there were also beach and pool parties where people could relax and enjoy the sun.
  6. Traffic jams: Unfortunately, Freaknik also became known for its massive traffic jams as people traveled to and from the event. The congestion was so bad that some businesses and residents complained about the disruption to their daily lives.

It’s worth noting that Freaknik was eventually shut down due to safety concerns and complaints from the community, so many of these activities are no longer associated with the event.