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How Freaknik contributed to Tyler Perry's success

Freaknik, the once-legendary party for college students that ended amid outrage over its also legendary traffic jams, played a role in Tyler Perry's journey from a poor kid from New Orleans to massively successful entertainment mogul.

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"I needed to know there was really a world of possibilities outside New Orleans," he writes in "Higher Is Waiting," to be released Tuesday. "That world opened up to me on my first visit to Atlanta during 'Freaknik,' a sort of spring break without the beach for black college kids. I wasn't in college, but I went anyway."

He didn't go for some of the partying antics he witnessed - but the visit was inspiring nonetheless.

"While all the kids were getting numbed out, drinking and partying, I was waking up to possibility," he wrote. "For the first time in my life, I saw there were black people doing great things with their lives. There were black doctors, lawyers, business owners ... I knew Atlanta was the place for me."

Read our interview with Perry, who appears Sunday at the Fox Theatre to launch "Higher Is Waiting," on myAJC .

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About the Author

Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for