Bun B: Freaknik was one of those things where you literally had to be there because there’s little or no footage.
Adina Howard: For us, who actually had the honor of experiencing it—because it was an honor—Freaknik was about freedom. It was about just doing you and not being judged at all. Because at the end of the day, we were all just a big clique. We were all freaky, we were all “nasty.” We were all promiscuous and just getting it. Not to say that’s a good thing, but that definitely helped define our youth. Words honestly can’t even begin to express what Freaknik was unless you were in the thick of it. Freaknik was just the freedom to be, do, and have as we chose. To me, that’s the legacy—no ifs, ands, buts or maybes.
Nika Watkins: It honestly changed up the city of Atlanta for urban America. Everybody moved to Atlanta after that. It put Atlanta on the map for its nightlife and strip clubs. Everybody and their mama has heard of Club 112 and Magic City.
Killer Mike: It was for the most part a hell of party, a few dark occurrences, but for the most part it was just a hell of a party.
Freaknik was about freedom. It was about just doing you and not being judged at all.
Jermaine Dupri: What was happening in that time period, you won’t ever see again in Atlanta. It was an era when, we didn’t have no curfews, no nothing in Atlanta. This was a time period when it was almost like Atlanta was an under-water city where you could do whatever you wanted to do. We had everything except for gambling and a beach. If we had that, shit would have been crazy. It was like an open city. People came to Atlanta and they couldn’t even believe that they could just ride around and hang out, kick it like they were kickin’ it. They couldn’t believe it. When I tell people about things like this, it feels strange. It’s the essence of what the South is now. It was by far the beginning of Southern swag, and what you see now. All that stuff you see now in Miami during Memorial Weekend, that’s actually like a re-creation of Freaknik—people are just trying to recreate it. The fun, the artists coming out performing, everybody wanted to be part of it. People like Luke, Jay, Snoop, everybody was coming from everywhere and wanted to be at Freaknik.
Adina Howard: For the people who have no clue what Freaknik is about? There will never be another one. They can even try to revive it, but it will not ever be the same... What happened at Freaknik, stayed at Freaknik. Words could not convey the experience. You had to be there, and that’s the beautiful thing about the way it all went down.
Derrick Boazman: When you call something Freaknik what do you expect for it to be? It wasn’t a picnic. What can we say positive? It shows the power of the black buck. It showed you the power of black networking. Now just think if we would have been able to convert that into “Black Power Weekend”—if 400,000 students showed up for “Social Justice Weekend,” or a “Free Mumia Weekend.” Or to reinstate all aspects of the Voting Rights Act. It showed you the potential but what it also showed you is… We can organize 400,000 people for a party but we can’t organize 400,000 people for Trayvon Martin or something. So it shows you the power of the people, but has to be more power than just the party. My whole fascination with Freaknik is I’m waiting to see that many people show up in Atlanta on something that’s meaningful to lives, to the salvation and liberation of black people. And I guess I’ll just be waiting.