As black migratory patterns continue to evolve in America, so do our cultural centers.
Chocolate Cities such as Harlem, Chicago and Detroit are no longer what they used to be for reasons that have been discussed at length. Instead there’s a “growing squadron of black cities emerging across the urban landscape” according to Brookings Institution fellow, Andre Perry.
Perry goes on to say that “despite stagnated black population growth, continued white flight, new white city formations and the occasional headlines lamenting the death of Chocolate Cities, black cities don’t seem to be going away soon.
Not only that but black cities have been thriving”.
So guess which city was cited as an example, despite being perceived by some as too black and too poor? Yes! Miami Gardens, Florida!
I can’t say when or how it started because I relocated to the “South” from the West coast in 2011, however you’d have to be blind not to notice the renaissance happening there. Its extensive list of Development Projects that are either completed, in process or upcoming is too long to list.
While the gentrification of most black historical centers of culture is taking center stage these days (rightfully so) and while Miami Gardens may be experiencing some itself (according to some), I believe its just as important that we recognize new ones are springing up and they need our support perhaps even moreso.
That’s why I believe Jazz in the Gardens is so important. It is much more than just the fastest growing jazz and R&B festival in the U.S.
It symbolizes the emergence of a New Black History.
It is FMAC, a world class Film, Music, Art and Culture Conference catering to aspiring black artists looking to receive the kind of inside information that can help spare them the heartbreaks and heartaches associated with the industry as well as the kind of access that can accelerate their success.
It is Poetry in the Gardens, a national poetry contest that explores and showcases the best in spoken word, an art-form that is foundational and integral to our youth culture and still evolving. This event serves as a forum for the mature development of this compelling and necessary craft.
It is a Women’s Impact Luncheon, an inspiring experience designed to motivate our sisters to live happy, healthy, balanced and fulfilled lives. Special guest speakers at this impactful event entertain and engage as they share powerful insights and expertise with a room full of ladies and indispensable inside information for us fellas!
It is an Opening Night Party. Hosted in the luxurious Hyundai Club at the newly renovated Hard Rock Stadium, guests party like it’s 1999 in a local global entertainment destination and home of the Miami Dolphins as we kick-off the fun-filled weekend up close and personal with some of R&B’s royalty, like the SOS Band and the Sugarhill Gang!
It is also a Pre-Show Heritage Tour and Tasting Experience that showcases the rich culture, history and music of Overtown, Little Haiti and Liberty City, cities where black leaders and celebrities such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali hung out back in the day! Hosted by CHAT South Florida, the tour includes a delicious food tasting of Southern and Caribbean cuisine made by local restaurants!
And finally it is the Jazz in the Gardens Festival itself,a two day world class experience hosted under the beautiful Florida sun and stars where tens of thousands of beautiful black people, young and old, dark and light, big and small, rich and poor come from all around the world to network, party, feast, sell, buy, share, perform and enjoy each other like some say we can’t, while top name entertainers help us forget the world’s maladies.
However mostly for me .. Jazz in the Gardens is Us .. making our ancestors proudas our local leaders take their communities from the shadow of slavery and discrimination. I believe they would be proud. Say what you will about their processes and current challenges, but given all the new developments in Miami Gardens, it’s no wonder they’re serving as host city for Super Bowl 2020!
South Florida’s Black Professionals Network salutes Miami Garden’s Mayor Oliver Gilbert III and its City Councils both past and present. We are hoping and praying that their significant achievements and efforts will serve as an example of what we can accomplish when “black voting power has been leveraged”.
Well, anyway, enjoy the Facebook and Instagram photos and videos and remember to VOTE! We need more Miami Gardens!