Spring has officially been announced by the House of Opulence’s Freaknik themed drag show. On Saturday, 16th March, DePauw’s only queer organization hosted drag queens from Chicago at Freaknik, a 90’s summer block party themed event that brought students and faculty alike together in celebration of fashion and identity. It was co-hosted by queens O’Laysia and Miss Toto, with performances by Chamilla Foxx, Serena Fiierce, Boy J and Kimberly Summer. Students participated in a Lip Sync Battle, judged by Dean Marcus Hayes, Alyse and … . House of Opulence’s traditional “shake that ass” contest followed, judged by the drag queens themselves.

The concept of Freaknik originated in 1983 as a picnic in a public park attended by “students enrolled at historically black colleges and universities in the Atlanta University Center” in Atlanta, Georgia. This was for students who could not afford to go back home for Spring Break, and quickly gained traction in the ‘90s to become what Atlanta magazine dubbed “Atlanta’s most infamous street party”. As “the event drastically increased in size and popularity” it incorporated “dance contests, concerts, parties, a basketball tournament, rap sessions, a film festival and a job fair.” The name of the event is also a blend of “picnic” and “freak” “in accordance with the D.C Metro Club’s 1982-1983 theme ‘The Return of the Freak’.” Typical dress code includes comfortable 90’s street fashion, which means lots and lots of denim, short fitted clothes, bandanas and bold, colorful designs. 

Events like the drag show and last semester’s Renaissance ball create a platform for everyone, especially queer people, to feel comfortable in their skin and support others to do the same. The energy in this physical and mental space is electric, and filled with love, joy and genuine self expression. Whether it be going over potential outfits the day before or hyping up friends when they’re on stage, a sense of community and belonging is fostered amongst students. While the Renaissance ball was more focused on different kinds of competitions, Freaknik was primarily a drag show, and each queen performed twice, with a full outfit and makeup change. Everyone joined in by cheering, dancing and singing along, and at the end people got up on stage with the queens to let loose and enjoy themselves. There was also a Mocktail Bar, with fun color themed drinks in lavender, red, yellow and blue. 

Kyron Baptiste ‘27 appreciates the energy created, especially by the drag queens and their involvement of the audience in their performances. He feels that this kind of a space, with no judgment and where everyone is comfortable and safe to wear what they want, is important. Having fun while respecting one another’s personal boundaries, Kyron emphasizes, was a significant highlight of the event. Overall, Spring 2024’s Freaknik was a raging success, giving DePauw students a glimpse of the historic platform for community and entertainment.