In February and March Mareeta McIntyre's Eagle Care Productions was so jammed up with the jams it was presenting that the Super Talent Showcase had to be delayed three weeks. A mere ten days before the event, she and her crew were still auditioning acts to find the best of more than two dozen singers (rap, R&B, pop, gospel ...), dancers (hip-hop, tap ...), actors (including mimes who use American Sign Language), poets (or "spoken-word artists" as some like to be called), singers of psalms (can we get an "Amen!" over here?), instrumental musicians, and between-act speakers. "We're definitely going for variety," McIntyre quips on the phone as she continues adding to the list of talents.
Like all Eagle Care events, this blowout raises funds for at-risk youth. For example, a young girl who told one panel (via an index card submitted anonymously) that she'd love to go to church, she loved church activities, but the adults in her home were opposed to such nonhedonistic behavior. Or a fifteen-year-old person (sex not identified) who scrawled a traumatic tale of enduring repeated rapes for six years by a "family member" who warned that if the abuse were reported, everyone in the home would be murdered. And on and on and on until you just want to lose yourself in the music and dancing and forget that reality exists, or at least that it's filled with failed humans who commit atrocities on the defenseless.
The solution, or at least one solution, is to teach these kids that they don't have to take it. Easily said, extremely challenging to enact. "We call ours 'E&E' events," McIntyre says. "Education and entertainment." By phoning in advance you can get a ticket for $10, or you can pay $15 at the door, which comes out to about 50 cents per act. In between the crooning and light tripping and mimery, the soaring gospel, and the rapid-fire raps, speakers will briefly attempt to instill in the younger members of the audience various ways to, as McIntyre puts it, "get control of your mind."
That, she says, is what kids at risk need to fight off the dangers nipping at their little heels by the heels of the world: unwanted pregnancy, HIV, drug abuse, negative peer pressure, guns. Kids can't just ignore such things, she notes, they must learn resistance. But even if you don't give a damn about innocent children, you still get a heavenly event. ("Everything but profanity," the promoter says, "whatever gift God's given you can be used to lift His name on high"). Consider: great entertainment, positive effects on society, a chance to enjoy one of Miami's coolest venues (the Black Box at Meek Center), a gathering of like souls. And maybe save some kid.