I tried for many years to work with Miami Beach and the county to put on an
event -- it was called Umoja Festival -- that all of us can be proud of, such as
the Super Bowl, Art Basel, and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival -- all
lily-white events that the city welcomes. Miami Beach even makes porn stars and
sex freaks who come for Exxxotica feel right at home.
You would think in this day and age, Miami Beach would stop treating
black people like second-class citizens and appreciate the economic boon
Memorial Day weekend brings to the city during a time when few tourists arrive
here. You would think government would use those dollars for something other
than an arrest fest to lock up tourists who visit the beautiful beaches and
nightclubs they see in music videos. You would think Miami Beach would use the money to impress the tourists, as well as the residents who leave the city on Memorial Day weekend. I would leave town too if I knew the streets were going to be clogged with people with nothing to do and cops looking to cuff them.
The city and the county need to take cues from places like New Orleans
and Toronto and a company like Royal Caribbean, which help organize festivals to
celebrate black and Caribbean cultures. In New Orleans, they have Essence. In
Toronto, it's Carabana. And you have Tom Joyner's Cruise on Royal Caribbean.
Businesses in Miami Beach are guilty as well. The hotels require you
book a minimum of three nights to get a room. They make blacks pay jacked-up
prices for parking and drinks at the club. The other night, I was at Club Dream
for a party put on by Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie, and
valet attendants were charging $80 for VIP parking. Two weeks before, I went to
Club Dream and the VIP parking was only $20. That sums up the mentality of Miami
Beach business owners.
The day is going to come that another city will welcome
African-Americans on Memorial Day, and the economic boost these people give to
the Beach will disappear. That is going to have a deep impact on the pockets of
the people who own businesses in Miami Beach. They rely on revenue from Memorial
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Day weekend to get them through the slow summer season.
Miami Beach needs to get its shit together and roll out the welcome
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.