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Memorial Day Weekend Needs Me

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Luther "Luke" Campbell, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke announces plans to reclaim Memorial Day Weekend on Miami Beach.

Six months ago, a young man died and seven people were injured, including three cops, in a police-involved shooting on Memorial Day on what has become known as Urban Beach Week in Miami Beach. So over the summer, I met with Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower about bringing some stability and organization to what has come to be known as Urban Beach Weekend.

She's been catching a lot of flack from political opponents in lead-up to the city's November elections. Her adversaries mistakenly believe Miami Beach can dictate who can visit Ocean Drive, Washington Avenue, and Lincoln Road during a holiday.

Pot loving candidate Steve Berke even wants to offer veterans discounted rates at hotels, restaurants, and shops to encourage more servicemen and women to visit our sunny shores, as well as putting on an air and sea show. He thinks this will discourage the crowd from returning to Miami Beach.

Berke doesn't realize that for some African Americans, using the word "urban" is just a nice way of calling someone the N-word. And his proposal sounds like a veiled attempt at selective segregation. No one on Miami Beach can figure out how to curtail the outrageous violence and the vandalism that mars every Memorial Day without discriminating against black people.

Berke's proposal certainly won't fly with businesses on Miami Beach that secretly enjoy the economic benefits from the predominantly African-American crowd during the slow summer months. Heck, there are some nightclubs and hotels that encourage a thug element in their establishments because they know thugs spend money recklessly, buying five tables, each one with limitless bottles of Rozay and Circoc.

Mayor Bower values my opinion. I consider Miami Beach a second home. I attended school and owned the first Black-owned nightclub in the city, Luke's. When I was making music videos, I introduced the world to our beautiful beaches. She recognizes my strong passion for Miami Beach. You have these other groups coming to her that don't care about Miami Beach. She doesn't want to work with people who are in it for the money.

When Bower and I spoke, she agreed to work with me to create a music festival like Umoja, which I created in 2002. Remember that was when residents first complained about the unruly tourists who came down for Memorial Day festivities. My goal is to present a showcase of hip-hop, R&B, and jazz that every American can be proud of. If some people on Miami Beach don't want it that way, then they are downright racist.

Maybe Berke wants to join us in staging an event that both honors veterans and celebrates Miami Beach's diversity. After all, who wouldn't support an all-inclusive classy weekend that goes smoothly?

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