Dear Culture

The Freaknik doc is here and it’s not what you’re expecting

Episode 78

Who created Freaknik? Where did it go wrong? Will it ever make a comeback? Dear Culture is answering all your questions about the legendary picnic-turned-street party that took over Atlanta during spring break in the ’80s and ’90s. The announcement of the Hulu documentary, Freaknik: The Wildest Party Never Told, made people panic as flashbacks of their wild behavior were feared to be exposed. However, now that the documentary has dropped, should people be worried? The doc’s co-creator and producer, Jay Allen, joins Panama Jackson and cultural critic Monique Judge to discuss what the documentary taught us.


[00:00:00] Panama Jackson: You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified. What’s going on, everybody? Welcome to Dear Culture, the podcast for, by, and about the culture here at the theGrio Black Podcast Network. I’m your host, Panama Jackson, and today we’re going to talk about a word, a culturally phenomenon, an event that brings the, for all of us who came of age in the 90s and in the 80s and 90s, it’s a word that, that brings so much joy in.

[00:00:29] Blackness and shenanigans to our hearts and minds. But when you add just one simple extra word to it, it brings concern, worry, fear, and lawsuits. We’re talking about Freaknik and the Freaknik Documentary.

[00:00:45] Freaknik Documentary: In the 80s, we said, let’s plan a picnic during spring break. Let’s call it Freaknik. Freaknik was the greatest Black gathering in America.

[00:00:58] Panama Jackson: Uh, the latter of which has turned the Black community in particular on its head for about a year now. And now it’s out here in the world. It is available to be seen. People will be watching this with a fine tooth comb. I know I, uh, texted all of my older sister and her friends to see, just in advance, is there anything anybody needs to tell us right now before we all hit play, just so there are no surprises.

[00:01:24] Um, I’m excited to talk about it. For one, I’ve been to Freaknik, uh, towards the latter end. Uh, I went to school at Morehouse in Atlanta, so I was there, uh, at the end in 98, kind of towards the end. Um, and I’m joined today by Monique Judge who is a cultural commentator, writer, you know, you know, Monique, if you, if you’re a part of Black Conversations, Monique is part of all of them, you know, Monique, um, and she also attended Freaknik in the 90s, and I’m also joined by one of the producers of the film, Freaknik, the wildest party never told, Jay Allen, who is the co head of unscripted Thank you both for being here.

[00:02:06] Um, super excited to talk about this documentary. Uh, I’ve seen it. I have all the thoughts, all the ideas, and it’s good to have two different perspectives. Jay, as part of the team that built this thing, you know, your perspective is going to be way different than ours who we’ve been sitting here waiting like, oh my God, what’s about to happen?

[00:02:26] Uh, we are writers. We’ve written all the think pieces about this stuff. So let me ask you, let me start with you, Monique. Just straight up. You’ve seen the doc. What were your first thoughts after watching the documentary?

[00:02:40] Monique Judge: Ooh, I wasn’t in it. No. Um, I, so I think when the, when the idea was put out that this documentary was coming, um, there were discussions among a lot of us who were old enough to have attended Freaknik, like, oh lord, you know, what kind of footage are they going to have?

[00:02:57] Like, Yeah. Yeah. If they show this documentary, am I gonna be in it? Um, and I was expecting something a little more, I don’t know, probably Girls Gone Wild, where Black people just a little bit more salacious. Um, and this was actually, um, more of a, a really good historical documentary. I think that it, it shows you like how the event came to be, how it evolved into what, like I may know it as, and people in my generation, um, may know it as, and the legend, like how it became a legend that people know it as today.

[00:03:32] Panama Jackson: I was expecting Black people behaving badly kind of thing. Like I would, you know, that was kind of, and I think that’s what we all were expecting. That’s why there was all the hysteria around it when it was announced. Right. Just the announcement itself, you know, had people ready to, to, to like preparing their lawyers for the lawsuits, the cease and desist and all that stuff.

[00:03:51] Right. So when I watched that, I was like, man, this is way more informative and educational than I expected it to be. Right. There’s the discussion about Atlanta as a city and the kind of city that could foster this type of event. Why it’s like the perfect space. It was essential. It was really interesting.

[00:04:08] And we’re going to talk more about this to find out the origin story told in such a way that isn’t debatable, right? Because there’s all the, you can read all the oral histories and there’s all these people arguing about who started freaking me, but it. You know, this document, I think lays it pretty clear that what makes it pretty clear that it was, it was started by, uh, students in the AUCs, DC Metro club, which everybody from DC, listen, I love all my homies from DC.

[00:04:33] I live in DC now, but if you talk about a group of people who want their credit for something, the AUC DC Metro club wants their credit for this. Right. So you learned about that history and then the, the, the, the, uh, Seeing when Luke talk about when they got involved and how it changed things and even being in Atlanta as a, as a teenager and as a kid, like seeing the evolution of the city.

[00:04:56] And then the Olympics, of course, being a game changer that it was. I remember that very vividly. Uh, and then kind of towards the end, like I remember in 98, I remember hearing the news stories about the rapes that were happening and things like that. So, you know, Jay, as somebody who was intimately involved in creating this thing, you know, two questions I want to start, like, What was you all, for those of you who are creating this, like, what was you all’s thoughts about all the hysteria that was surrounding this when it was announced, but also, did that play into the decision to make this more of an educational informational doc as opposed to the possibility to just run all the footage and just like, hope you don’t get sued?

[00:05:35] Jay Allen: For sure. I mean, what I love about you, Panama and Monique, you guys are, there’s a responsibility in telling Black stories, you know? Um, and there’s a responsibility to protect us and make sure our stories are told, right? So when we were creating the doc, it was always going to be this doc, you know, there’s this amazing.

[00:05:53] There’s this amazing cultural phenomenon that happened that we just wanted to show the origin story of, like, like you said, there’s, it was so debatable for so many years of how it started, when it ended and, and it still is, even when you watch the doc, some people says, some people say it’s still going on today.

[00:06:09] Some people said it ended 94. So, you know, for us, it was always the responsibility to tell the story from beginning to where it ended. You know, ultimately ended in our opinion and it was bigger than just people twerking on Peachtree Street. You know what I mean? And we knew that story was more important than that.

[00:06:28] Uh, we laughed at the hysteria, all the media takeout articles about the judges and these people trying to shut it down. None of that was real, but we enjoyed it and we allowed it to, you know, continue the conversation and, um, and ultimately, ultimately build to where we are today.

[00:06:45] Panama Jackson: How did this even come to be? Like who was sitting around like, hey y’all, you know, we don’t have that. We need Freaknik doc. You know, we, we, you know what? I got all these tapes of my grandma and her cousins out here acting a fool. Somebody needs to put this out and somebody needs to make a documentary around. It’s like, how did this even happen in the first place?

[00:07:03] Jay Allen: That’s hilarious. So my sister, Nikki and I are the cr, the co-creators of the idea itself. Um, so we were sitting in our office over here in Atlanta in Swirl Films and we’re just like, you know, we, we were probably about five years too young to attend Freaknik, right? And Freaknik became this place, as you guys know, people come to Atlanta, you know, have these amazing tales of Freaknik and then go back to their respective cities and kind of tell the story.

[00:07:29] So I always got it secondhand from a cousin, from my brothers, from everybody that came down here and attended. Um, but then I realized, like, we, we didn’t know the true story. So we came up with the, the idea of Freaknik. Put into a pitch deck and then realized to sell the idea. We would probably have to get some people attached from there.

[00:07:48] Um, we went out and got JD attached. Um, reached out to him, met him in the middle of a Starbucks parking lot in the middle of COVID. Jermaine Dupri had like four masks on when I thought he had it. Like, you know what I’m saying? I was scared. And then from there, we picked up the phone, called Uncle Luke, well Nikki picked up the phone and called Uncle Luke to get him on board.

[00:08:07] He flew up to Atlanta the next week. And from that standpoint, we had two of the biggest people to me that influenced Freaknik in the same room. One from the music, one from the culture. And from there, we took it out to the market.

[00:08:19] Panama Jackson: Monique, you, you went to Freaknik , you said, you told me, what years did you go?

[00:08:23] Monique Judge: 94 and 97.

[00:08:25] Panama Jackson: All right. So according to the doc, 94 is the year that it kind of, it took a turn, right? It went from being kind of just like this big cultural event that lots of college students and probably, you know, like locally in Atlanta, we were all going, you know, people were going, those of age and those whose parents would let them out of the house were going to and attending and stuff like that.

[00:08:45] But 94, according to the doc seems like the year when. The Luke factor kind of, you know, the freak fully, fully immersed into the freak neat part of it, right? Like all of a sudden that’s when. It became a thing. Do you remember that? Like, do you have vivid memories of being there in 94 and 97? Like do you I do.

[00:09:05] Is it, so, are there memories that you hold dear, or were you acting a fool and you need to like, do we need to sign NDAs before we have the rest of this convo?

[00:09:14] Monique Judge: No, okay. So in 94 was definitely a different experience for me than 97. 94, I had just moved down south to go to school in Carolina. So it was my first experience being down south.

[00:09:27] It was my first experience being around so many Black college students. And so going down there, I went with someone I was seeing. He was actually from Atlanta. So I feel like that helped. Um, but it was, to me, it was kind of crazy cause I had never been, I’m from LA. So this was definitely not our culture.

[00:09:49] Um, I’ve been on Crenshaw on a Sunday night, totally different vibe than what we experienced at Freaknick. And so for me, it was like culture shock, pretty much. I was just like, the whole time. And then the 97 when I went I was ready.

[00:10:04] Panama Jackson: You ain’t know what you were doing in 94 97 you brought the freaking starter pack like you You was you you know, you had your backpack filled with all the necessities and all that stuff, huh?

[00:10:19] Monique Judge: Right.

[00:10:20] Panama Jackson: So I mean as somebody who went there and again, I was there in 98 and I remember, um, in college, I remember April comes around and you know, we all like, Oh, Freaknik, we’re all going right. My family’s in Atlanta, so it’s not a new thing for me. And it’s not something that I, I can’t say that I was like fully experienced it, but my, I have older siblings and cousins, you know, everybody that I know had been a part of the shenanigans, right?

[00:10:43] They got the video cameras, they got the tapes and all of that stuff. And this was me going out there. Looking for the shenanigans, right? I was like, let me go find Freaknik. Right? And I remember walking around like, you know, this seems a lot more tame than I expected it to be. Now, I just don’t know if I didn’t know where I wanted to go or because of the group of friends that I had, we were like, we really not trying to go to jail or get involved in something that’s going to send us there.

[00:11:11] So let’s just stick to the rivers and lakes that we’re used to. But, you know, when you heard that the doc was coming out, did you think people had a real reason to be concerned?

[00:11:22] Monique Judge: Yes, again, I will say that we heard a lot of stories, even while we were there, of stuff happening. I ran into people I knew who were telling me, oh my God, you should have seen this, you should have seen that, kind of thing.

[00:11:37] Um, and I feel really grateful that both times I was with people who cared about me. Uh, because that second time, like, I got drunk on Everclear and blacked out and they literally had to carry me, yeah, um, back to our room. Right, so, and I know that stuff happened to women down there that was horrible. I think there’s a lot of people who had valid concerns when they heard that this documentary is coming out.

[00:12:03] And maybe they should still be concerned because You never know. People come forward and tell their stories all the time. And we have to acknowledge that amongst all the fun and all the gathering of Black people together, there were some bad things that happened.

[00:12:16] Freaknik Documentary: It started to get a lot more out of control. People were coming by the masses. What the hell just happened?

[00:12:25] Monique Judge: So, yeah, some people probably needed to be worried.

[00:12:29] Panama Jackson: I mean, Jay, that brings up a good point. Like, you know, we’re talking about the doc not being quite what I expected it to be. It was educational, but the shenanigans are there, right? You, the footage, there’s footage in there of people doing all kinds of things that I’m sure their older, more mature selves would be ashamed of, right?

[00:12:46] And you do see things that are frankly criminal, right? You see things that people that I don’t, I don’t know who signed off. And I do have a question about like the footage and clearances and all that kind of stuff, but you know, You know, how did you all decide how you were going to address the darker side of Freaknik, right?

[00:13:04] Because you’re gonna have, you can’t do, you can’t have a doc discussing it no matter how you were going to do it without discussing that there was an element of Freaknik that was dangerous, especially for women, that became a dangerous space for anybody to be in, right? Like, the unpredictability was way too high.

[00:13:25] Jay Allen: Yeah, for sure. And it was an important part of the story. Um, one, we reached out to scholars and, you know, people like Mark Lamont Hill to make sure that historically and tone wise we were there, um, and really covering those things. Um, also, you know, when it came down to telling the story of Freaknik, you know, a lot of times, like, when we were, when it was first announced, people thought it was just 94.

[00:13:51] Just 1994 Freaknik when it was first announced, when we were really always telling the full story. I always thought the full story was important just so you see where it kind of went off the rails. You know, I think it was very important to see the DC Metro Club start this as this innocent college picnic of just, you know, students that couldn’t afford to go back home to DC and then kind of watch their event get hijacked by the greater community.

[00:14:17] You know what I mean? Um, and when I say the hijacked, you know, it became this place where college students could go a landlocked spring break, no beach, no anything and kind of see a transform to this thing that was out of control just so you could see where it kind of went off the rails. From there, you know, it became this thing of trying to find, you know, cause you’re looking for people that are victims of what might’ve happened.

[00:14:40] You know what I mean? Which is a very, it was a very difficult thing of tracking down, um, people that one may have been a victim and to want to talk about that 20 to 30 years later, well, 30 plus something years later. Um, so how we ended up landing on the person that would be the overall voice was her name was Stacy Lloyd.

[00:15:03] Um, we did find a news article where she, well, an article in a news story where she talked about her experience, which was detailed in the doc. And it became the collective voice of what we, what I believe many women did experience during Freaknik towards those latter years where it went off the rails.

[00:15:22] Uh, we wanted to make sure we highlighted that experience, but also, you know, not necessarily glorified that, that period as well, because I think it is important when you tell a story like this, we do tend to live in the glory days of the greatness that Freaknik was, but for a lot of women, just hearing Monique talk about, you know, the Everclear story and the fact that if you didn’t have women, I mean, people around you that cared, right.

[00:15:50] And they were nurturing you. Anything could have happened during those years. And a lot of, there are a lot of people that, that had that experience. So I think we just wanted to make sure we told the round story, um, that we didn’t run away from some of the tough conversations that were had. And then obviously knowing that a lot of these things couldn’t happen in today’s world.

[00:16:08] Like, you know what I mean? Like in the world we are in today, where these things are, are much more scrutinized and, you know, You know, to me, there’s not a, uh, there’s not an avenue where something like this could happen and not be highlighted. We just wanted to make sure we didn’t run away from that difficult conversation.

[00:16:25] Panama Jackson: So, I actually, I really enjoyed the, um, like, the sociologist perspective. Like, for instance, I know Mark Lamont Hill, like, and I really thought it was interesting, the perspective that he kept providing. It’s like, Oh, before we get too far into, into this, this recklessness, let’s, let’s make sure we keep an understanding of what was really going on here culturally and all these other things.

[00:16:47] Like, I thought that was really fascinating. And, and, um, there were several individuals in Fenton. I forgive me for not remember everybody’s name, but. You know, like, even seeing Shanti Daz in there, who is, like, essential to music in Atlanta, right? Like, if you know anything about LaFace and music, like, just having her perspective in there and how they kind of center it.

[00:17:07] And Rasheeda, like, I really enjoy, like, Rasheeda’s very much in your face, straightforward, like, this is, this is what it was. But I did think it was good to keep things in perspective by virtue of that. You know, Mark is like, listen, there’s this idea that Black men are all these things negatively, and some of that did happen, but that wasn’t the entire story.

[00:17:24] Most people enjoyed themselves. But I do think the narrative that we think of when we think of Freaknik is very much one of Like the dark side, it’s, it really is the dark. So like, I don’t think at all of the early picnic years, like I probably do think of this very, which is interesting. Cause it’s really a short window from like 94 until, you know, 97, 98, when it really kind of just petered out.

[00:17:46] Cause I remember in 99, I don’t remember anybody going out for anything. Like, I don’t remember that. I don’t remember freaking being a thing. I think the city tried to change the name of it and push it to like Edgewood Avenue or something like that. They try to, you know, But for all intents and purposes, it was dead.

[00:18:00] Everybody’s like, I’m going to Daytona, you know, um, so the height of what we think about when we think about Freaknik, it really is a real short window, even though the actual entirety of it is like a, it’s almost a 20 year run. Right. So it’s really fascinating thinking about like all those different angles. Like Monique, when you watched it, did you like, so there’s a whole thing about the Olympics and all this stuff. And you’re coming from LA and like, you’re seeing all this stuff. Did it, what did it, what did it show you about Atlanta that maybe you’d, or just forget, maybe not just Atlanta, but like freaking in general that you really didn’t know or consider before.

[00:18:37] Monique Judge: So, and I was going to make this point too, in relation to like talking about the dark side of this, right. Because coming from California, like especially Southern California, the big deal here for spring break is going to Palm Springs. Right and everybody’s going to palm springs to the desert for spring break and it’s wild and it’s crazy And the same kinds of things happen like it’s the same kind of party just with a lot of white people You know what I’m saying?

[00:19:02] And so i’ve been to MTV spring break same deal I went to MTV woodstock same deal even worse. It was a nightmare So all of these things are like the same and coming down south and then experiencing it um, at Freaknik, it was different for me because it was my people. So even though there was craziness going on and even though bad things did happen, I personally never felt unsafe.

[00:19:29] Like I was with a lot of people who look just like me. So I felt like it was more predictable and we know the cues. If somebody starts talking loud, we move it. They bought the fight. Like, you know what I’m saying? So it’s like those kinds of things we’re ready for. And we can predict, I can predict my people.

[00:19:47] I can’t predict those others. So, I feel like that’s a thing, and that was the big difference for me, and it just made it. Um, a better experience, I think.

[00:19:56] Panama Jackson: So footage, bro, I gotta, I gotta understand, like, how many signatures did you have to get for, for this footage? I mean, I can make out faces. Some of the stuff you can’t, but you know, like, how did y’all get footage?

[00:20:10] How did these people who agreed to sign off on this stuff? Like, what was that process? Like, I’m really, this is like the most curious part of this whole thing for me. The people who agreed. For some of the videos that we saw in there, which ain’t no way in the world that I would ever sign off on being shown anywhere.

[00:20:28] Jay Allen: No, for sure. Well, the interesting thing is legally, if somebody records a video of you, they own that video. You know what I mean? And so. The, the interesting part of the videos is like the videos were crowdsource. So we put out the back call for people to, you know, this is the one time to clear out those VHS tapes from the garage and the storage unit snitches.

[00:20:49] So it was a lot of snitches. Um, but it also, it also is scary because some people have VCRs in their house. So you’re sitting in people’s houses watching Freaknik footage. Yeah. It’s one of the most scary things you can just imagine. Just watching curating footage in somebody’s crib.

[00:21:07] Panama Jackson: They still have the VHS so they can keep watching them tapes.

[00:21:10] Jay Allen: Yeah, and then, and then you hope, you know, you hope you, you don’t, you don’t die. You know, you’re in somebody’s house that takes you to the basement to watch VHS tapes of Freaknik. And then pointing out stuff, you know, it was a lot. So, I think the interesting part was how much of the footage was there. I mean, we watched hours and hours of footage.

[00:21:29] Obviously, Uncle Luke had a whole garage of footage that we went through, um, but where the footage became interesting for us is that obviously we couldn’t include every single person that went to Freaknik that had a story, because the moment you say you’re doing a doc like this, um, everybody has a Freaknik story.

[00:21:46] So the beautiful part for the people that produced the film was giving a voice to the people that we couldn’t sit down in front of the camera and allowing them, allowing their story to be told through the footage that they took. And obviously that gives us the credibility in a film of showing people and taking back, taking people back to that time period with those big ass camcorders on their shoulder.

[00:22:08] Um, but also, you know, again, giving a voice to the people that we couldn’t have sit down in a chair.

[00:22:14] Panama Jackson: All right. We’re going to take a real quick break here on Dear Culture. When we come back. Um, we’ve talked a little about the dark side, but I really want to talk about like the joyous side of, of what Freaknik was and all the things that it did bring.

[00:22:25] So, uh, stay tuned right here on Dear Culture. We’re talking Freaknik.

[00:22:30] theGrio: The eighties gave us unforgettable songs from Bob Marley, De La Soul, and Public Enemy.

[00:22:37] I’m a Black man and I can never be a veteran.

[00:22:40] Being Black the Eighties is a podcast docu series hosted by me, Touré, looking at the most important issues of the eighties.

[00:22:48] Through the songs of the decade.

[00:22:54] A decade when crack kingpins controlled the streets, but lost their humanity. You couldn’t be like those soft, smiling, happy go lucky drug dealers. You had to suppress that.

[00:23:08] It was a time when disco was part of gay liberation. It provided the information to counter narratives that were given to gay people by the straight world. This is the Funkiest history class you’ll ever take. Join me Toure for Being Black the eighties on theGrio Black Podcast Network or wherever you listen to podcasts.

[00:23:32] Freaknik Documentary: Kids ain’t know nothing about freak me.

[00:23:38] Trust me. Your mom and daddy got down.

[00:23:40] Panama Jackson: Alright were back here on Dear Culture talking Freaknik and the Freaknik documentary now on Hulu, which is titled Freaknik, the wildest party never told. I’m joined by Monique judge and Jay Allen, who is a producer on the film, on the documentary. And you know, one of the things I really enjoyed about it was kind of the, the arc of Atlanta’s cultural like evolution, that happens through the documentary and that I maybe I don’t know if Freaknik gets enough credit for it, right?

[00:24:09] I think, like, Shanti Dazs made a good point of talking about how they use Freaknik to put, like, OutKast and the LaFace artists on the map. Or Jermaine Dupri, who was just like, you know, the mayor of Atlanta. If you, if you, if you did any years in Atlanta, like, you remember that big billboard coming off the airport, the, the, the so so def?

[00:24:28] It was one of my favorite billboards ever because it’s like, If you don’t know Atlanta is a Black city, you know, coming off of that, coming out of the airport. Right. So it was really cool seeing like old Jermaine Dupree and how they use Freaknik, which was, you know, basically this gathering to really cement Atlanta’s culture.

[00:24:44] They talked about, you know, I saw DJ nabs in there who I remember from DJ nabs in the lab, Greg street, V one Oh three. And I remember when V one Oh three did not play hip hop. That was always a thing. Like when we got, when we got our like one oh seven, nine, it was like, we finally got the hip hop station because V one Oh three is playing around in our faces.

[00:25:00] You know, but we, Greg Street, time for Greg Street to rock, you know what I’m saying? We had all that stuff. So it’s interesting to listen to them talk about how Freaknik really opened the doors for like hip hop culture and the evolution of hip hop culture that Atlanta was building in the doc. So, you know, my question there is, you know, how important was it to get that and allow like somebody like Jermaine Dupri, who I swear to God is like the most underappreciated, one of the most underappreciated like music execs and artists of all time.

[00:25:38] Like if anybody needs a documentary, Jermaine Dupri needs a real doc. That truly gives that man his flowers. But like how intentional was it to make sure that you got him space to really speak about it, to be, you know, to be shown for how influential it was, that what he was able to do and help bring through music, but using Freaknik as a vehicle.

[00:25:59] Jay Allen: No, for sure. And then, and just to touch on, before I go to the Jermaine piece, just to touch on Atlanta is that city where you come to have fun and you leave with the music, the culture, the style and everything. You take it back to your respective areas. And I think Freaknik was, was a lot of the start of that, you know what I mean?

[00:26:17] And it was happening before, but I think what Jermaine did, what Shanti did, you know, through the face with OutKast and all those people. Um, people would come here to get that, you know, that experience that you can only get like I was from North Carolina, so everybody from North Carolina, you know, they run to Atlanta to, you know, to just have a cultural experience.

[00:26:42] What I think Jermaine did to me better than anybody was, was say, you know, I’m going to become the soundtrack of this. You know, and so having Jermaine, you know, sit down and just, you know, layer the importance of SoSoDeafBassAllStars and where he was when he created it and having Lil Jon there who doesn’t get enough credit for that SoSoDeafBassAllStars album.

[00:27:06] Having those people talk about the, you know, the influence of Miami bass music to how that would differ from, you know, what Atlanta bass was doing at the time. And then to, you know, even with the trailer, like having the, my boo in the trailer. The track and like mixing that up and seeing people say that that gave them chills.

[00:27:28] Freaknik Documentary: Be able to be in the middle of the street, dancing, laughing, playing your music. It’s a moment. The interstate, the highway, was a street party.

[00:27:37] Jay Allen: You know, everything else. It was just important. Like we, we recognized both Jermaine and Luke, you know, different versions of the soundtrack for Freaknik. But having them both be able to vocalize how important the music was.

[00:27:50] Um, to the overall experience was it was just vital and it was, you know, to me, it leveled up the dock where it’s not just again, just this, you know, shutting down crazy event is, is really the emphasis of where this music became, uh, you know, a nationwide phenomenon.

[00:28:10] Panama Jackson: Yeah, and it really did. I mean, you know, it’s not controversial now to call Atlanta the kind of the center of the hip hop universe at this point, right?

[00:28:17] But there was a time when that was a controversial statement, and back then, I don’t know that anybody believed that it was going to become that. You know, Luke alludes to that in the doc. He’s like, you know, I called that early, you know, nobody, you know, that Atlanta was going to become what it is. Now, largely because of all those things, you know, Atlanta is a very Black city where, you know, Black success and opulence is not, it’s not surprising, right?

[00:28:39] You see, you know, and I live in Washington DC and I think DC is a lot like that where you see successful Black people all over the place. You can go to school and all your teachers are Black, right? You can literally live a very Black life where you’re not, the white gaze isn’t defining how you like live your life.

[00:28:54] And I’m not saying that even people who live in places like, let’s say LA where, you know, Black people aren’t as much of the population are living that life. But, you know, I, I do wonder, you know, Monique, you come to Atlanta in 94, you know, with, you know, the, the guy you’re seeing who’s from Atlanta and like, at that point, is this the Blackest place you’ve ever been in your life?

[00:29:13] I mean, you’ve seen 100, 000 Black people just living their best life and then you’re in a city where everybody like, you’re just like, you know, what was that experience like even back then? Like. Atlanta for you. Is that was that your first time ever coming?

[00:29:27] Monique Judge: Um, no, it wasn’t, but it was still for me again, being around so many Black college students, um, being surrounded by so like Black colleges in both North Carolina and Atlanta.

[00:29:41] That was a different experience for me. Um, coming from here, right? Um, and just, I feel like the culture was way different than it is here. Um, the things that people glorify here, or even at that time in the early 90s, glorified here in California. They didn’t have the same weight in Atlanta or in North Carolina.

[00:30:06] You know what I mean? With Black people down south. So it was different. Um, and so that was like a learning experience, but I think too, it just, again, it gave me a different cultural experience coming from LA where our culture is very much like you said, like there’s Black people here, but this is very much a white society, right?

[00:30:26] And we have pockets of Black culture here in LA. But the white culture is everywhere. And so being there where everything is just Black to be Black, every single way, every single place you go, that was a good experience. I think a warm experience for me.

[00:30:42] Panama Jackson: Yeah. I mean, that’s, you know, it was really heartwarming for me because as somebody who went to school at Morehouse in the AUC for who, like those years in college are really defining for me, like who I am, like the friends that I have like seeing You know, seeing just like how, like a reminder, like even in the eighties, like, you know, we all, like, we were all very self, like the, the time I was there is the greatest time ever, but you know, I ain’t built a Freaknik.

[00:31:06] Meanwhile, these, these folks in the eighties with nothing better to do was like, man, let’s start this thing now. Granted, they acknowledged it became something that they didn’t intend, right? Like that was, they didn’t recognize. It was just like, You know, if you build it, it was organic. That was probably part of the joy of it was that it was organic.

[00:31:24] Right. And people start showing up. Like, I love that scene where, uh, the brother, the, the, the light skinned brother with glasses, I can’t remember his name. I apologize. But he was like, man, they mentioned Freaknik on like a different world. Right. Like it had gotten to the point in culture where it was a part of the cultural conversation for Black youth.

[00:31:42] And like, how fascinating must that be to be somebody who created something Like shows up in the places that matter for you as a, as a, as a young person, right? Like we were all watching different world. And I imagine it’s even different for people who are a little older college years and all this stuff where it’s literally representing your years.

[00:31:59] Like different world is ahead of my time. Like I’m on the way there. Um, but. You know, it’s just like, it was so cool to see the space that means so much to me and how it mattered to those other, you know, it’s got the Spelman stuff on and, you know, you got the pictures of them on campus. So that was really, that was really cool.

[00:32:18] I really, I really enjoyed that, like, part of seeing Black joy, just us being students. Living our lives with our entire futures ahead of us. And you know, all of that stuff. I really enjoyed that time for a quick break, stay with us. And we’re back. What is something that you learned or stood out the most to you about your documentary?

[00:32:40] Jay Allen: It really was just a humble beginnings, uh, Panama. Cause like what you were saying when it, when you started the interview was, was real. Like when we put, when we were starting to put this together, I’ve heard so many origin stories of where Freaknik started. Um, um, And I knew it got wild. You know, we all kind of know, we know the middle of it.

[00:32:58] We kind of know the end of it, but the beginning has always been fuzzy. So to sit down with this DC Metro Club and just hear like the innocence of how this started, like these people could barely afford to buy, you know, hot dogs and hamburgers or throwing a grill. And for that, you know, to turn into inviting the Greeks down from the surrounding schools to like, I think for me, just being able to see how it ballooned and grew.

[00:33:24] And then to hear these stories, because everybody, whether it’s the beginning or the end, everybody has a different Freaknik story. And for the most part, it is Black joy. Like, you know what I mean? People have different versions of it, depending on where they fell in that Freaknik, you know, timeline.

[00:33:43] But I just love hearing the different stories from the different eras. And then also hearing why they don’t think that could ever happen again. You know what I mean? And so. For me, I just enjoyed that. Just the journey of it and just hearing the different experiences that this one event gave so many people across, you know, all different walks of life.

[00:34:02] MTV True Life (2): A unified time for Black people. And

[00:34:12] Panama Jackson: What a hell of a segway, by the way, because you literally, right. You swerve right into where I was trying to go with this. Um, But before we do that, I do want to say, like, I really appreciated that you all got them into the documentary to like, like, have them have all these people who created this thing sitting around in the circle.

[00:34:30] Talk like I imagine I mean, there’s only so much you could use for for filming or for for the actual doc, but I can just imagine listening to them sit around and talking about that time in their life. Before the inception of this thing, that would become a reason to create a documentary, but like, it’s one thing to hear that this is where the story gets started, but to have the people who did it be a part of the thing and tell the story in their own words, and like, that was really, I really appreciated that, and again, everybody from the DC Metro Club is going to appreciate you, this is going to be, as soon as this drops, every person from DC that ever went to school, Spelman, Morehouse, Ronald Clark is going to be like, I told you so.

[00:35:12] Jay Allen: We did it.

[00:35:12] Panama Jackson: I told you DC did this. So you’re welcome Atlanta.

[00:35:16] Jay Allen: And I do want to say one thing about them getting them together. We went through so much to make sure that they didn’t see each other before they got on camera. So we had them all in step. Yeah. That reunion that you saw happen on camera was a real union.

[00:35:29] A lot of them hadn’t seen each other since college. So we had them all in different hotels. Like we had to, we had to stop people to get phone numbers, to get them all together. But like literally once we made the calls and got this founding bunch of the DC Metro Club together, to bring them together on camera was literally by far my favorite moment of this whole doc.

[00:35:50] It was amazing.

[00:35:51] Panama Jackson: That’s even better than no, that explains why there was that, that, that loud yelling. It was, it was like, it was real. It was that real, like, I ain’t seen you in a minute, you know? So that was, that’s, that’s awesome. So context and perspective, right? Like that really is, that really is cool.

[00:36:08] It’s probably been really cool for them. Um, Monique, what was your big takeaway from the doc?

[00:36:14] Monique Judge: Um, just, I feel like again, and I said this earlier, but I can’t stress it enough that, It’s important to take Freaknik in its totality. So to understand the history, the legacy of where it came from, how it started, how it evolved and what evolved it, because you mentioned this earlier, but when Luke started talking and he started talking about that song, work it out.

[00:36:39] Right. Which has now been in my ears for hours, it’s an earworm, for hours now.

[00:36:52] Because I remember, that song was in between I Wanna Rock and Scarred. And when Work It Out came out, like, and it was such a fast paced, like, and like they said in the doc, we didn’t call it twerking back then, it was just booty shaking. And let me tell you something. Booty shaking, don’t work now. Okay. So like to take it into its totality, then here were these, here was the influence of Jermaine Dupri and the music that he was putting out the face, Luke, how it evolved into what it turned into.

[00:37:22] It was like just this big Black spring break things where everybody partying and doing whatever and how people who never got to experience It hears the stories and what it really was and what really happened. I feel like that’s the takeaway that everybody should get from this documentary is that there, it’s like an onion and there’s so many layers.

[00:37:42] You just have to keep peeling back and peeling back and getting those stories.

[00:37:47] Panama Jackson: So I want to, I want to get to one part specifically that really kind of resonated with me and it’s how little every single person that you all talked to about Freaknik was really unhappy with where it is now. So, which I thought was fascinating because I, the owner of the name Freaknik now, uh, Carlos Neal has this Freaknik festival that they do.

[00:38:08] And it seemed like everybody was unhappy with the idea of trying to recreate it, which I thought was fascinating because I’m guessing you had to get his sign off for the name or even the documentary. And I saw that he’s listed as one of the executive producers, I think, of the docs. I was like, this is really fat.

[00:38:23] Like Kenny Burns was hot. Um, 21 Savage has something to say, you know, Luke and JD, like. You know, everybody was basically like, nah, bro. This is like, you can’t do that again. Like it’s not the same thing. So, I mean, I guess this is kind of like a big overarching, like, can we recreate Freaknik and should it be recreated?

[00:38:44] Like Monique, start with you.

[00:38:46] Monique Judge: No, I, I feel like, no, let it rest where it is. If you’re going to create something, create something new, come up with a new idea and do your own thing. Let Freaknik, Be what it was and remain where it is, right? We put it to bed. It’s over. It was a time. If you missed it, you missed it.

[00:39:03] And that’s it. And now it’s time to do something different. It’s just like rebooting old movies. Stop doing that. Come up with something new.

[00:39:13] Panama Jackson: What about you, Jay? What you think?

[00:39:14] Jay Allen: No, I agree. I’m in the same vein. You know, again, I don’t think Freaknik on any, on any parallel could exist in a, in a major American city.

[00:39:25] Like it just, it just couldn’t, like no city’s gonna allow you to shut down their highways, shut down their streets and roads. It just doesn’t exist. What I do think that happened because we did get a lot of flack because people see 21 Savage in the credits and it was like, what, 21 Savage wasn’t even born.

[00:39:40] I mean, I was wondering too.

[00:39:45] But what I think 21 Savage does really well is like, so he’s thrown the past two years, which is how he got on our radar. I don’t even want to talk about this is 21 Savage has thrown this birthday party, um, which the amazing Hannah King has put together for him every year. You know, she’s still the parts of BMF, everybody.

[00:40:03] Like she’s known for her extravagant parties and he threw the party. He threw Freaknik bean parties that paid homage to. Um, to Freaknik in a way that if you, if you attended those parties or if you go look at the images from those parties, he would throw his birthday party in the underground, you know, everybody we dressed in nineties attires.

[00:40:23] The car clubs will be circling underground in the nineties cars. So for a minute, if you’re just standing out there, which is how the film opens, like it does feel like you’re at Freaknik. So while I don’t think Freaknik could return, I do think it’s beautiful that this generation that wasn’t even their parents, some of their parents weren’t even alive when Freaknik was going on.

[00:40:46] Like they have such reverence for this thing that happened, that they’re throwing the themed events. And so, um, you know, and keep in mind, like he had Drake there. He had everybody like Lotto’s there, Lizzo’s there. And so I think from us, we wanted that perspective. And obviously we wanted the eyeballs that come with him giving that perspective, which is why he was there.

[00:41:07] But Freaknik could never come back in this original form. But I think the idea is it could come back in the form of people paying homage through parties. And, you know, events and costumes, things like that, but not, not in the way that it was, you know, as we knew it.

[00:41:24] Panama Jackson: Yeah. I mean, that’s where I’m at with it too.

[00:41:26] Like I, I, some things were of their time. And it’s dope that you all have created this documentary that documents and chronicles that time in a, in a way that, you know, anybody who, you know, a lot of these younger people who weren’t alive and weren’t there, whatever, can take a look at this and see, like, what the, what the past was like, and how these things get built, and how Atlanta became what it became culturally, and all these other things as part, as part of the conversation about, like, why Atlanta matters so much now, why Atlanta is Atlanta that it is, and how, you know, Freaknik is a part of that history and part of that story.

[00:42:05] I probably, I don’t, I don’t think that, I don’t know if I heard of the Freaknik festival and this is, you know, no shots to the brother Carlos or anything like that, but I definitely probably, if I had, I’d be like, yeah, I don’t know why we doing that. Like this, this, this ain’t, this ain’t it. Like give it another name.

[00:42:18] Like, just not, it’s just give something, build something new. Like, you know, trying to, you know, kind of. Like build off of the name of the past. It’s like, eh, I don’t like, especially because, so, you know, I teach a class at Howard and these students, they’ve heard of it, but they have no idea. Like, they don’t even know songs like scarred.

[00:42:37] I asked, like, have y’all heard scarred? They’re like, I don’t know what that is. I’m like, y’all know.

[00:42:48] And they like, nah, like Luke James. I’m like, Wow. Like, meanwhile, Luther Campbell is essential to my youth, right? Like, it’s just, you know, those are the tapes I had to hide, you know, to a live crew, right? So, you know, anyway, it’s just facts. So I’m with you. I’m in the exact same boat. All right, we’re going to take one more break and we come back.

[00:43:09] We’re going to do our Blackfessions and Blackfessions, my favorite segments on the show, uh, and finish off this conversation about Freaknik here on Dear Culture.

[00:43:21] theGrio: I’m political scientist, author, and professor, Dr. Christina Greer, and I’m host of The Blackest Questions on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network. This person invented ranch dressing around 1950. Who are they? I have no idea. This all began as an exclusive Black History or Trivia Party at my home in Harlem with family and friends.

[00:43:40] And they got so popular, it seemed only right to share the fun with our theGrio listeners. Each week, we invite a familiar face on the podcast to play. What was the name of the person who was an enslaved chief cook for George Washington, and later ran away to freedom? No, this is why I like doing stuff with you, because I leave educated.

[00:44:00] I was not taught this in Alabama public schools. Question number three, you ready? Yes. Let me try to redeem myself. How do we go from Kwanzaa to, like, these obscure Sport, darling. This is like the New York Times crossword from a Monday to a Saturday. Right or wrong. Because all we care about is the journey and having some fun while we do it.

[00:44:21] I’m excited and also a little nervous. Oh, listen, no need to be nervous. And as I tell all of my guests, this is an opportunity for us to educate ourselves because Black history is American history. That’s right, Mayor LaToya Cantrell. Hercules Posey. Mmm! Born in 1754, and he was a member of the Mount Vernon slave community, widely admired for his culinary skills.

[00:44:45] I’m going to guess Afropunk. Close! It’s AfroNation. Never heard of that. So last year, according to my research, it’s Samuel Wilson, a. k. a. Falcon. Wrong. Wrong. I, I am, I am disputing this. I just don’t know nothing today. It’s early. I’m gonna pour myself a little water while you tell me the answer. The answer is Seneca Village, which began in 1825 with the purchase of land by a trustee of the AME Zion Church.

[00:45:12] So give us a follow, subscribe, and join us on The Blackest Questions.

[00:45:20] Panama Jackson: We’re back here talking Freaknik with Monique Judge and Jay Allen. Monique is the cultural commentator who attended Freaknik back in the 90s. Jay Allen is one of the producers of Freaknik, the wildest party never told the documentary out on Hulu that you absolutely are watching to make sure that you ain’t in it.

[00:45:35] If you were anywhere in the vicinity of Atlanta in the year in somewhere in the 90s. During spring break or, you know, or you’re looking for your mom and daddy or your cousins or like I was looking at all my cousins, my whole family’s in LA and I’m looking for everybody. I know didn’t see anybody, but I will continue to look.

[00:45:54] Um, so Jay, I have a, I have a, a question for you to kind of cap this, like what didn’t make the doc?

[00:46:01] Jay Allen: Oh man. A lot didn’t make the doc. I mean the cutting room floor. I mean, again, I think we had a responsibility just to protect some people. You know, there’s obviously salacious footage. Um, the key thing I think didn’t make the doc that people would find interesting is some of the women were actually going and Monique, I’m looking over there too.

[00:46:23] Some of the women were going just as hard as the men in the streets. And you have women saying, let me see, let me see what you’re working with. Let me see what you got. We had a lot of those clips. Um, and then just a lot of people just like having fun. I think we all remember when we were in our twenties.

[00:46:41] And we were just out here having fun. And so, you know, again, it kind of looks and feels different today watching that footage from back then. And so a lot of what we kept out was stuff that, you know, for the most part, if somebody watched it, they would be, you know, embarrassed or, you know, feel a way about, we try to keep as much of that off the screen as possible while still, you know, protecting the true essence of what Freaknik was.

[00:47:08] But the women were, women were a little wilder than they put on to be out there. It was a little crazy. I’m talking about that part, but I’m just saying like the women were, they were making requests out here too. It was, it was, it was interesting to watch.

[00:47:22] Panama Jackson: Yeah, I believe that fully. And it is, I can’t imagine like just how much you’ve seen with 2024 eyes that would make you cringe just about like things that just like it.

[00:47:35] I, like I remember watching. Watching TV and watching things that I know were fine in the 90s that there’s no way that I would ever think is okay nowadays, right? We’re just, we’ve just evolved so much as a culture, uh, or hopefully evolved so much as a culture and people with it when it comes to how we deal with certain things that I can’t imagine the stuff that y’all were like.

[00:47:55] Man, this could never see the light of day like this. This is also why Freaknik could never happen again. And stuff like this, listen, with all the cameras and everything that people have, and social media, everybody’s going to jail. There’s all kinds of, all kinds of things that people don’t need documented, that people ain’t bright enough not to document.

[00:48:12] You know what I mean? Like, people just like, yeah, sure, I’ll record this, why not? Right? Um, alright, well, listen, I’m, I’m excited to have seen this documentary. I’m excited for everybody to get a look at this documentary. I, I’m really, really interested. in the response to the documentary. I just can’t wait to see how everybody responds to it.

[00:48:33] I’m really, I’m, I’m looking for, and I know you all are too. Like I, you know, it is going to be a documentary that everybody’s going to be watching immediately. It’s going to be this one. So social media going to be social mediating. Um,

[00:48:45] Jay Allen: You know, we’re hoping for one of the most pause rewound documentaries of all time is what we’re hoping for, but yes, we are, we’re definitely

[00:48:54] Panama Jackson: Absolutely.

[00:48:55] All right. So the last segments we do here on Dear Culture are Blackfessions and Blackfamendations. Blackfession is a confession about your Blackness, something people will be surprised to know about you because you are Black. Do you all have Blackfessions for me?

[00:49:10] We both got one. You both got one.

[00:49:12] Jay, let’s start with you.

[00:49:13] Jay Allen: Man, this is rough, man. Um, cause people, people, I will be judged for this and I already know this. I’m excited already. So my, my Blackfession is. Up until like two years ago, I had not ever watched the Wiz before. Now I lied about watching the Wiz and Monique, don’t make that face.

[00:49:34] I don’t know. I didn’t come in for that. I didn’t, I lied about watching the Wiz cause everybody had watched it. And like two years ago, I was like, you know what, finally I’m gonna, I’m gonna just, I’m gonna watch it and I’m gonna get it over with. But yeah, I just, I never watched it. I wanted to watch it, but it was long and I, you know, I just never made time to watch the Wiz.

[00:49:51] What did you think when you watched it? Um, I thought it was pretty good. Listen, I don’t like things that are super hyped, so if it gets too hyped up, like, I didn’t watch The Wire until like maybe five years ago, like, if it gets super hyped, like, I have to wait. I’m losing my mind. Says the guy who made a documentary on Freaknik.

[00:50:10] Panama Jackson: Like, you made a documentary about Freaknik talking about chillin like things that are super hype. No! Literally. Literally one of the most hype anticipated documentaries of my, that I can

[00:50:21] Jay Allen: ever remember is Part Is What You Have Created. You’re not wrong. You’re not wrong. I mean, like I said, I recently realized I had to get on board with some of this stuff and I did, I just sat myself down.

[00:50:31] It was during the holidays. I made myself, you know, a little tea and hot chocolate situation. I watched the whip. I did that. I did it. Monique is judging. I thought we was going to be friends after this. Monique is looking at me with judgmental eyes.

[00:50:44] Panama Jackson: I definitely never said this was a no judgment zone. I just called it Blackfessions, but I can appreciate, and I appreciate you sharing.

[00:50:52] This is, this is a safe space. But I think we have this misconception that safe spaces all come without judgment, and that’s not true. So, Monique, what you got?

[00:51:02] Monique Judge: Now, this is probably gonna get me some judgment. Um, but I’m fully prepared to face it. Um, I am a Black person who I don’t think I’ve ever watched the Five Heartbeats all the way through.

[00:51:19] Jay Allen: Oh man, I’m judging. How do you start that and not finish? It’s one of the greatest

[00:51:24] movies.

[00:51:27] Panama Jackson: But you said not watched it all the way through. How do you stop? That movie is amazing. Like, how do you not finish?

[00:51:34] Monique Judge: My cousins, they literally love that movie and they would watch it all the time over and over again.

[00:51:40] So I’m familiar with parts of the movie, but I feel like I’ve never just sat and watched it all the way through and paid attention. Like, I know who Eddie Cain Jr. is. I couldn’t name nobody else in that movie. Is that the one with Yeah.

[00:51:53] Panama Jackson: Leon. Don’t do it. Don’t be out here. Don’t be out here mixing movies and getting things wrong.

[00:51:59] Monique Judge: Brian, that’s why I didn’t say it, but.

[00:52:02] Panama Jackson: Don’t even, don’t even do it. Pretty much. I am judging you. That makes me sad. Yeah. Five Heartbeats, one of the greatest movies of all time. That’s why. It really is.

[00:52:08] Monique Judge: Now, if you want me to recite the Temptations movie, I got you.

[00:52:13] Panama Jackson: Which is longer than the Five Heartbeats.

[00:52:16] It really is. Which is sadder than the Five Heartbeats. Which, you know, all the things. So, but I, I’m, I respect you, you shared and I asked you to share and you did. So I appreciate that. Thank you very much for sharing that shenanigan. And I’ve learned if you let people shenanigan once they will shenanigan.

[00:52:34] And this is, this is, this is what you have done. All right. Well, to usually offset the, the, um, the Black card revocation committee’s consideration. We also do Blackfessions, which is where we have people recommend something for buying about. Black community, Black culture that you think other people need to be up on.

[00:52:54] So, Monique, let’s start with you. Do you have a Blackamendation?

[00:52:57] Monique Judge: Um, yes. So, I have, um, fallen down this rabbit hole of reading a lot of urban romance and urban fiction. And there is a book that was talked about so much on book talk that I had to read it. It’s 750 pages long. And believe me, not a word was wasted.

[00:53:19] Not a word was wasted. And the book is called Demon’s Dream. Um, and it’s by L. K. Demon’s Dream. Demon’s Dream. And that’s going to be my Black commendation. I, I, I just, I cannot recommend that book enough to enough people. I feel like I’m at this point. A Demon’s Dream Evangelist. That book was so good. I read it all 750 pages in two days because I couldn’t put it down.

[00:53:43] It was good.

[00:53:45] Panama Jackson: Wow. Yeah, that’s, that is also wow. Cause 750 pages of really long book for urban lit. Number one, number two, that’s just a long book period. Now you, now you like great expectations in a, you know, well, other really long books.

[00:54:03] Jay Allen: King James version of the Bibles, what are you trying to get at?

[00:54:07] Panama Jackson: That’s like the, that’s like the, the, the James Baldwin reader is like 800 pages. Like that’s how that’s, that’s what, that’s okay. But all right. So who, who wrote the book?

[00:54:17] Monique Judge: L. Cason and it’s very well written, right? I know people have this conception of what urban, um, fiction is. It has greatly evolved from what you knew it back then.

[00:54:28] And this book is.

[00:54:31] Panama Jackson: Okay. All right. So, uh, Jay, what about you? Do you have a, do you have a Blackamendation for us? I feel like I know where this is going, but I’m not sure.

[00:54:39] Jay Allen: Yeah, I was going to say, I hate to do the shameless plug, but yes, my Blackamendation is going to be, please tune in to the Freaknik documentary, Freaknik, The Wildest Party Never Told, coming to Hulu, March 21st.

[00:54:51] They didn’t pay me to do this. I’m really like, I really want y’all to watch it and join the, the, the conversation on X. I don’t know if we call it Twitter still, but. Join that conversation, um, and let us know what you think about it, man. We would love to know.

[00:55:06] Panama Jackson: Yeah, I would also recommend watching the documentary because, well, one, we’re doing this conversation because it’s about Freaknik, and there’s, while there is, there is a lot of content about Freaknik, maybe not a lot, but there’s, there’s content about Freaknik out there.

[00:55:20] Um, there are podcasts, there are oral history. I was a part of oral history at one point, I think for Complex. Like, there’s all of this stuff out there. I think the Freaknik documentary Freaknik, the wildest party never told the official title. Really well done. And I learned a lot, which I wasn’t expecting.

[00:55:37] I wasn’t expecting to learn as much as I did, even as somebody with, with so many ties to Atlanta and who was there and present for a lot of that cultural evolution and all that stuff. I really felt like I got a lot out of it. So I appreciate y’all for that. Y’all team, everybody, a part of that. You all did a really good job with that.

[00:55:55] Uh, where can people keep up with you with Jay? Like what you got going on? And. You know, you already said where they can see the doc is on Hulu. March 21st. It’s out now. Um, where can people keep up with what you got going on?

[00:56:08] Jay Allen: Yeah, for sure. Um, I’m on, um, all social media, watch Jay. So w a T C H and then the letter J stories on there are insane, but just, just rock with me.

[00:56:18] Trust me. Um, but, um, yeah, that’s where you can find me on, on Instagram and across social media. All right. What about you, Monique? Where can people keep up with you?

[00:56:26] Monique Judge: I am the journalista everywhere across social media. It’s me. You can keep up with me that way.

[00:56:33] Panama Jackson: There you go. Well, thank you both for being here talking about Freaknik and the documentary.

[00:56:39] Uh, Monique and I had a whole conversation about it before we even started talking on a pod. Cause, you know, we got thoughts, we got all the, all the things and, you know, largely I’m always excited when some aspect of Black culture that doesn’t have its flowers gets an opportunity to be seen as fully as possible.

[00:56:58] Right? Like I’m, the whole purpose of doing this podcast is to amplify Black culture and Black voices and all that. So, you know, I’m, I’m, I love that the doc exists. So thank you for being here, Jay. I appreciate your time. Appreciate you, man. Appreciate you for the platform. Yeah, absolutely. Monique, thank you for being here.

[00:57:17] Of course, we got to do more of these. You know, more of these conversations. Um, and to everybody listening, thank you for listening to Dear Culture. Make sure you check out other podcasts on theGrio Black Podcast Network. We have fantastic content that is all about the Black experience and Black voices all over the place.

[00:57:34] So check out everything, everything theGrio Black Podcast Network. Uh, thank you for listening to Dear Culture. I’m your host, Panama Jackson. Have a Black one.

[00:58:18] theGrio: We started this podcast to talk about not just what Black writers write about, but how. Well, personally, it’s on my bucket list to have one of my books banned. I know that’s probably bad, but I think. Ooh, spicy. They were yelling N word, go home. And I was looking around for the N word because I knew it couldn’t be me because I was a queen.

[00:58:37] But I’m telling people to quit this mentality of identifying ourselves by our work. To start to live our lives. And to redefine the whole concept of how we work and where we work and why we work in the first place.

[00:58:53] My biggest strength throughout, throughout my career has been having incredible mentors and specifically Black women. I’ve been writing poetry since I was like eight. You know, I’ve been reading Langston Hughes and James Baldwin and Maya Angelou and so forth and so on since I was like a little kid. Like the banjo was Blackly Black, right?

[00:59:12] For many, many, many years. Cause sometimes I’m just doing some Sam that I just want to do it. I’m honored to be here. Thank you for doing the work that you’re doing. Keep shining bright. And we, and like you said, we all keep Writing Black. As always, you can find us on the theGrio app or wherever you find your podcasts.