Memorial Day, technically May 30th every year since 1868, is the day we honor our fallen military, killed in battle fighting for our freedom. Some of us pay homage by saying prayers and placing flowers on the graves of our soldiers. The President of the United States (POTUS) visits the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, media in tow.
Others spend time with family and friends, enjoying music and food and having fun. On Saturday, May 23rd, I got to see some old friends and meet some new ones at a wonderful event sponsored by a well-known event promoter and fellow church member. It was an “old school” outdoor family affair attended by the presidents and principals of some local non-profit organizations (one of which received a donation from the proceeds), Black professionals, models and even a politician or two.
People brought their lawn chairs and picnic gear and listened to live music, a DJ, some drummers and even an African musician, who offered libations to bless the event. The food booth cooked up some serious jerk chicken reminiscent of the islands.
This was a far cry from Memorial Day Weekend on South Beach, otherwise known as Urban Beach Weekend since 2001, when over 250,000 Hip Hop music lovers, druggies, strippers and otherwise half-naked ladies of the night descended on South Beach and have been coming back every year since.
Even though the crowds have increased (some reports of a million visitors expected), the violence seems to have subsided since it’s been reported that arrests were down 70% this year, thank God. Miami Beach residents have been fleeing the city during this weekend mainly because of the seemingly lack of respect for people and property by a small percentage of young Blacks.
Seven years ago I wrote about how, in the beginning of Urban Beach Weekend, a few thousand out-of-towners displayed why Atlanta ran them out of town. A couple of years there were even shootings in and around several of the night clubs. This year many of the club owners chose to close and lose money instead of becoming venues of violence.
But the Miami New Times gave a calendar of events at several of the clubs sponsored by many in the music business, including TI, Jeezy and Rick Ross, Trick Daddy and Trina, and even Floyd Mayweather’s Victory Celebration at a local strip club in North Miami Beach.
Most of the professional and middle-class Blacks avoid South Beach during this weekend, preferring to spend time with their families. Let’s hope that each year the crowds that continue to come to Miami Beach will grow older and wiser so that none of the venues will close their doors and those that have violence on their minds will go somewhere else.
Our fallen warriors deserve nothing less.