Freaknik the Musical: A Sad Day in Black Pop Cultural History

So, the first hour-long black televised animated cartoon is Freaknik the Musical which ran on the Cartoon Network no less. I love the Cartoon Network, particularly Adult Swim, because it appeals to the teenage boy trapped in this 37-year-old female body. I watch it night after night, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies, Moral Orel, Boondocks — you name it, I watch it. I love it.

While I was a bit mortified to learn that they were making Freaknik the Musical, with that lame rapper known as T-Pain, I thought to myself that I would reserve judgment. Afterall, it is Adult Swim and they manage to pull off the most offensive, subversive, outrageous comedy on television, and pretty much under the radar. Imagine my disappointment when watching Freaknik the Musical which was just offensive, not funny, not subversive, not engaging, not provocative, but pretty lame. To think that many rappers that are at the top of their game (Snoop Dogg and Lil’ Wayne) signed on to this weak garbage is even sadder.

The animation wasn’t even good and the black characters were so exaggerated that they looked more bizarre and horrific then even the most heinous of Goya’s black paintings. Did I mention that there was no real storyline, and the overworked one that they proposed was ridiculous — how exactly do you go from Florida to New Orleans en route to Atlanta?

The animation was not visually stimulating and lacked any finesse or demonstration of real skill. It was just a cacophony of stereotypes set to music with dope beats. It was like the most base level music video stretched out for an hour. Imagine an hour of Nelly’s Tip Drill without the fine women. A colossal waste of time and talent. Adult Swim’s sure hits have finally missed the mark.

On the evening when more African-Americans were honored by the Academy Awards in several different categories, including documentary short, supporting actress and screenwriting, which by the way is unheard of, the Cartoon Network manages to dole out this crap. The word undermine comes to mind. Do you remember A Great Day in Harlem? Apply that to this travesty and you’ll get A Sad Day in Black Popular Culture. That about sums up Freaknik the Musical.

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. writes this blog Tune N, which examines pop culture through the lens of race, class and gender. She also serves as cultural critic for Creative Loafing.


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