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Why We Can’t Have Nothin’: “Freaknik The Musical” and How I Learned to Wear Sensible Shoes

Thembi Ford 4 March 2010 11 Comments

Of course I’ve never been to Freaknik. Of COURSE not. I didn’t go to an HBCU and it was banned by the time I was of age anyway. What I do know about is Philadelphia’s Greek Picnic. When I was little my dad took me a few times. He’d perch me on his shoulders, showing his first born baby girl off to his frat brothers. But that’s back when it was a picnic; by the time I went again I was in college and it wasn’t about the actual event, it was about people hanging out on South Street and Broad Street half-naked dragging along pit bulls and/or snakes for the “afterparty” (as if walking or driving through packs of dudes while they gawk, grab, and try to holla at you is a “party”, but whatever). What stands out about the two times I participated in the revelry?

The first time I ended up in a stampede down South Street after someone started shooting (or a car backfired, you can never be sure). I learned not to wear shoes you can’t run in, a rule that came in handy when I found myself in a sixty story building in Manhattan on September 11th, 2001.

The second time was one summer during college, when I was in a car tooling down Broad Street with three other girls the evening after The Greek. We saw a pack of boys who couldn’t have been more than fourteen years old standing around in the street and in an effort to be cute the driver got out of the car and pulled off her belt, shouting “y’all need to be in the house, y’all need a beating!” The boys ran to the car and immediately started ripping her clothes off and reaching inside through the windows and sunroof trying to get at the rest of us. The driver started screaming, “I’m naked! Help me!” So I passed the cover-up shirt that I had with me up to the front seat. Within moments that was ripped to shreds also and all that was left was a single cuff. It was humiliating and disgusting. We were all shocked, including the now scratched and topless driver. After we managed to drive off she tried to report the incident to the cops that, incidentally, the city had put out there to prevent mess like what had just happened. They gave us a “you shouldn’t even be out here,” speech and that was that. Here’s the part with the twist…homegirl who’d been the victim (and cause) of the attack decided to drive around covering herself with just one arm, pulling up to random guys, telling them about what’d happened, and asking if she could have their shirts. I don’t know what I would do in her position but engaging in the flirting that was inherent in that solution – basically telling dudes that they should take their shirts off and drawing attention to the fact that you’re half naked – would not have been an option. Eventually some dude gave her his wife-beater and we left Broad Street to go…guess where? To her aunt’s house to get a REAL shirt so that we could go back out to Broad Street and not miss the party of the year! By the time I got home I’d lost all faith in men AND women, and never again went to any black event promising to be a huge outdoor party.

This post wasn’t supposed to be about any of this but I’m having a stream of consicousness kind of day. The point was supposed to be that L’il Wayne, Snoop Dogg, and Big Boi among others, are all providing voices for T-Pain’s upcoming Cartoon Network special “Freaknik: The Musical,” and you can watch the trailer here. I don’t really have a developed opinion on this trailer, I just don’t want anything to do with yet another chance for black culture to have an entertainment venue turned into a display of coontastic nonsense. When it comes to representation of black America on television, yes that is why we don’t have nothin’. When it comes to the events themselves, I’ll never be convinced of the value of any event where sexuality is at the forefront, especially sexual behaviors that so closely mirror the “slave sexuality” where women put themselves on display, rile up the men, and are then pursued or assaulted because of the atmosphere. There may no longer be a Freaknik but there are events that resemble it in many cities, notoriously anything that Luke puts together in Miami. Maybe I’m too old and un-cute for all of that now and that’s what driving my disgust, but creating venues for hypersexual behavior? Yeah, that’s why we can’t have nothin’.

11 Comments »

  • sarah said:

    Can I also point out, in addition to the fact that Freaknik looks atrocious, that Adult Swim used incorrect grammar in their banner above the video? WTF is that about? Is the whole world so poorly educated that no one involved in Adult Swim OR YouTube noticed such a clear error?!

  • ASmith said:

    Alls I’m sayin is…

    At least somebody found Kel Mitchell and gave him a job.

    Ok, that’s not all.

    I also note that there’s more calls to bring “Freaknik” back than to do another Million Man March…

  • michelle m. said:

    I’m with Sarah. “Adult Swim only want’s the best for you?????” Lawd! C’mon people…and the music in the trailer made my head hurt…or made me have a seizure…or triggered my adhd…or something…I’m dazed and confused…

  • NotPlayinFavorites said:

    “never again went to any black event promising to be a huge outdoor party.”

    Wow, you are one of the few people I know that share the same sentiment as me. Why at every outside event we have with large crowds, shootings, fighting or the like occur?

    We are a diverse people with many different backgrounds, yet the only one perpetuated is the poor representations. We are not all the bling bling, 5 baby mama/daddy havin, only ebonics speaking,droppin it like its hot in random places, hoochie mama, hanging on the street corner, dealing drug personas that society has been shown and have been accustomed to.

    And in the event of rendering myself furious at the actions portrayed at these kinds of events, I chose not to attend any more as well.

    Now, speaking on this Freaknik tomfoolery. I was instantly irritated at the commercial. All I saw were big round naked booty cheeks on shoulders and chains and gold teeth. I will NOT be watching. When I heard the dialect of one of the characters, I instantly turned.

    Wish I had the money to bring back all the black shows that tried to be about something and put them on 1 channel. Call the station WYBM (What You’ve Been Missing) and just play The Cosby Show, A Different World, Good Times, Thats My Mama, Girlfriends, Everybody Hates Chris, etc etc. Wouldnt that be nice?

  • J.T. said:

    I know Gods coming back when this Soddam and Gamora shit is on my cartoon network. Fucking dumb humans. If all you show is ignorant how can anyone think differently?

  • [fung'ke][blak][chik] said:

    *record scratches*
    CARTOON NETWORK???

    Are you kidding me?!?!

  • kizzie said:

    UGH THANK-YOU!! I saw that dumb-ass trailer some time ago and thought to myself “wtf as, you all must be white for sure”. Yes they have black c/d list celebrities doing the v/o for this non-sense and I’m mad as hell too!!!

    My next troll is deff going to be on the AS webpage for this shit.

  • Luscious Librarian said:

    Thembi,
    I’m from South Carolina and we have Black Bike Week. The one time that I did try to hang I was in constant fear for my safety. So when I hear that Freaknik is going to be resurrected THIS WEEKEND I am less than pleased.
    Honestly, i don’t think it’s the college kids that the problems start with it’s the adults who got kicked out of high school who are just lookin’ for a party to start some sh*^. The sad thing is that mob mentality takes over so quickly.

  • Samuel Hernandez said:

    i watched Everybody Hates Chris and sometimes i find the lead actor a bit distracting.”;-

  • lilkunta said:

    QUOTE : ” When it comes to the events themselves, I’ll never be convinced of the value of any event where sexuality is at the forefront, especially sexual behaviors that so closely mirror the “slave sexuality” where women put themselves on display, rile up the men, and are then pursued or assaulted because of the atmosphere . . . ”

    WHAT? That is NOT slave sexuality. Your friend was stupid. There was no slave sexuality. Ladies were called wenches & men called bucks. Ladies were raped by their owners to produce more slaves. Bucks were forced to have sex to produce more slaves.

    What your wrote sounds to me like you are blaming ladies for sexual advances!

    Why didnt u speak up to your friend& demand that she IMMEDIATELY go 2 her aunt’s house & get a shirt? Instead u rode around with her while she was topless driving up 2 guys. What if some guy pulled her out of the car?

  • Inking Stamp : said:

    the lead character of Everybody Hates Chris is so damn talkative he he,.,

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