Jermaine Dupri has begun shooting a new documentary chronicling Atlanta’s infamous spring break festival, Freaknik, and its impact on his hometown.
The multi-Latin producer revealed his latest project in an Instagram post on Wednesday (Nov. 30), with JD standing by the window of a high-rise near the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park home.
“This is the first day of shooting for the Freaknik documentary,” he said in the clip. “So everyone who missed freaknik, we’re going to show you what you missed.”
Check out JD’s post below:
Freaknik began as a gathering thrown in 1983 by students from the Atlanta University Center — the collective name of Atlanta’s four HBCUs: Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College and Spelman College.
Originally conceived as an event for students who could not afford to go home for spring break, Freaknik continued to grow in size and popularity with students from other HBCUs throughout the South. At its peak, the festival had become a destination for students and non-students alike.
In 1990, Freaknik saw a crowd of 300,000 people descend on Atlanta from across the US, Canada and the Caribbean.
While cemented as a legendary era in Southern hip-hop culture – kept alive through lyrics by artists such as Lil Kim and Chuck English; and events such as 21 Savage‘s annual Freaknik-themed birthday bash – Atlanta city officials weren’t exactly fans of the annual celebration once its numbers grew into the tens of thousands.
According to Associated PressIn 1998, the Black College Spring Break planning committee called on Atlanta to ban the event due to reports of “lewd behavior,” criminal activity, and the general strain it posed on the city.
“We cannot support events that bring lewd activities, sexual assault, violence against women and public safety concerns – fire engines unable to reach victims and ambulances unable to reach hospitals in time,” said committee chairman George Hawthorne. time.
The following year, organizers attempted to move Freaknik to Dekalb County, just outside of Atlanta, but did not continue the celebration after 1999. Twenty years later, Uncle Luke announced plans to bring a “family friendly” version of Freaknik back to Atlanta, but that effort also failed to see another iteration, due in part to COVID-19 restrictions.
When 21 Savage appropriated the name for his 29th birthday party in 2021, he was met with threats of legal action by the organizers of the Freaknik Festival, the same group that had brought in Uncle Luke.
According to reports, organizers were not happy with the Freaknik name being used and asked 21 to either acknowledge the legendary festival or change the name of his party entirely. That Savage Mode II the rapper did neither and moved on to bring back the event this year.
Jermaine Dupri will not be the first to create a documentary project around that historic event. In 2019, Mass Appeal partnered with Endeavor Content to create Freaknik: A Discourse on a Lost Paradisea podcast that revisits the cultural phenomenon through the eyes of musicians, journalists, Atlanta residents and politicians who lived through the storied era.