Letters to the Editor

From the issue of July 26, 2001

I was in my apartment the whole Memorial Day weekend except to go to the local supermarket one block away. I don't know what happened except on my block and the blocks adjacent. But what happened here was people without hotel rooms roamed the streets all night and trashed the neighborhood. The following week store owners and people here involved in the hotel industry told tales of terror and disorder.

I should add that the original hip-hop kids in South Beach who first appeared, and are still here, are the whites to be found around the Euclid Oval. This is not a racial issue. It is a cultural and class issue. The two black male cooks who own a condo on my block, the professional black lady in my building, the famous black female impersonator across the street, the black gospel and opera singer in my building are as orderly, quiet (except for the opera singer's arias), decent, and conservatively dressed as any Anglo-Saxon, protestant judge in New England with a Harvard undergraduate degree and a Yale law degree. I don't believe for one minute they appreciate the hip-hop events in South Beach any more than anybody else.

Louis Oliver and Luke Campbell, who came to Miami Beach City Hall with a "posse" that looked like extras out of a B gang movie (and certainly never saw Harvard, Yale, or even Miami-Dade Community College) are not contemptible because of the color of their skin, but rather because of their support of disreputable and illegal conduct by thugs so they can make a buck.

Three times I've testified in favor of Don Peebles's African-American hotel on Collins Avenue, despite its delayed construction blocking my public beach access for years. I've testified in favor of Peter Thomas's liquor license for a bar/restaurant a block from my apartment despite reservations because of the hip-hop events in past years.

At what point does Miami's black leadership, people like Bishop Victor Curry and attorney H.T. Smith, stop ranting and raging about racism and face some of the real issues here on the Beach?

Count LFMdeW Rosenthal e Meyerbeer W. Chudzikiewicz h.Chodkiewicz
Miami Beach

South Beach Manifesto: Open the Doors, 'Cause Here I Come
And don't even think about keeping me out: David Flores wrote a letter to the editor about hip-hop culture in which he stated, "This is not a racial problem, since not every African American in the United States is part of the urban hip-hop subculture." He is correct; not every African American is part of hip-hop. But he is correct for another reason as well: Thousands of non-African Americans embrace hip-hop worldwide.

Did you know there are thousands of Anglo teens all over this nation who love hip-hop music? They even corn-row their hair, flash gold teeth, and wear clothes that originated (as usual) in the African-American community. Did you know there are white and Hispanic hip-hop artists? Did you know that Lauryn Hill has won several Grammys for her hip-hop music? Yet she does not promote violence or idolize ex-cons who promote murder, as Mr. Flores described black hip-hop culture. If he is uncomfortable with thousands of blacks on Miami Beach, that is his personal issue and he needs to deal with it.

Mr. Flores went on to describe Miami Beach as "a community where young couples and families mingle with gays, Orthodox Jews, and Hispanics; a community where respect is the law of the land, an alien concept to the hip-hop subculture." By that statement did Mr. Flores mean to say he doesn't mingle with Miami Beach's African-American residents? Did he just happen to accidentally exclude African Americans from his description of the Beach?

African-American labor helped build Miami Beach from the turn of the century up till today (check out what Donahue Peebles is doing), but not so long ago we had to have a special pass to come to the Beach. As an African-American female I will never ever allow anyone ever to exclude me again! I have the same rights as any American citizen to freely move about this city. Caution to all who do not remember the Holocaust, American slavery, the attempted genocide of Native Americans, and the illegal incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

If some visitors (Hispanics, Jews, Anglos, African Americans, whoever) come to Miami Beach and misbehave, they should be dealt with according to the law; thrown in jail if that's appropriate. But please, Mr. Flores, don't insult me by trying to portray everyone as law-abiding citizens except African Americans. Remember that when you start pointing a finger at others, three fingers are pointing right back at you. Have a good day!

Standra Ivey-Jones

South Beach Manifesto: I Used to Love Visiting
But why should I return if I'm only going to be insulted? I am writing this letter to express the frustration I experienced on my recent visit to South Beach. My wife and I are both African Americans from South Carolina who have visited Miami on vacation for several years and have gotten to know the city pretty well over that time. When friends ask me why I keep going back to the same place every year, I tell them I enjoy my time spent in Miami. This year, however, I noticed a distinct rudeness from many of the local Cuban residents.

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