Urban Beach Week, Bike Week, FreakNik and the “Young Black Folk Event” Syndrome

If you haven’t already been made aware of the events that occurred Memorial Day weekend, “Urban Beach Week” brought thousands of young people down to sunny South Beach Miami for the hip-hop festivities. By Tuesday morning, what most of us heard from many media outlets was only the chaos and tragedy that ensued from the weekend. One person killed and four others injured by the bullets of police officers and hip-hop artist, Sean Kingston severely injured from a jet-ski accident, which left him fighting for his life. SouthBeach residents are now calling city leaders to replace “Urban Beach Week” with a less rowdy themed event, such as a “Jazz and Blues Festival.” Ironically, “Urban Beach Week” is technically not a Miami promoted event, through word of mouth and tradition, people just flock to the area.  Let’s look at the following quotes:

“There isn’t a residential street in South Beach not affected by tons of garbage, crime to our vehicles, excessive noise 24 hours a day, and simply a lack of respect for our community, citizens and property,” activist Herb Sosa wrote in an open letter to the Miami Beach City Commission. “Make the difficult, but correct decision to put an end to Urban Weekend in Miami Beach.”  

And another one:

“I think we need to take back the city for the residents,” said the President and CEO of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce. “It’s just not right that people live in fear.”

Doesn’t this all sound familiar??? It’s what I like to call, “the young black folk event syndrome.” To clarify this, it is when an event that attracts young African-Americans is held and the heightened suspicions from the public and police leads to tension amongst the attendees, public and police. We have seen it at any and every event that attracts large groups of young African-Americans. FreakNik anyone??? Let’s face it though, at any event that attracts young people, white or black, there will be some rowdiness and there are always a FEW bad apples in the bunch. This is always the case at many events that young African-Americans attend, and the reality is, unlike the events that attract majority white attendees, the bad apples and their actions are what make the news and ultimately affects future events geared towards us in the future.

Now I can’t end this post and say this only has to do with race, because it doesn’t. It also deals with age and class as well, because it is these events that make many city officials reluctant to hold other events that attract large groups of African-Americans in general, which is why so many of our ‘elders’ show concerns  and animosity too. Ever heard them say, “this why black folks can’t have nothing”?

I also can’t end this post and not once say that all these events are holy-sanctified and there aren’t any hot messes and side-eye attractions either, because I’d be lying. SEE ABOVE PIC. In fact, you couldn’t catch me at any urban beach week, bike week, etc., etc., First, I don’t have the money it’s not in the budget and secondly, women are too often sexually objectified and/or objectify themselves and I wouldn’t want to have a Queen Latifah “U.N.I.T.Y.,”  “who you calling a bitch??!?!” moment walking down Ocean Drive.

Nevertheless, I can understand SOME of the reasons why the South Beach residents are upset and want to do away with the event that’s not really an organized event, but as far as their complaints about the trash, noise, and traffic-isn’t that expected at any large event? I think so. Should the event goers be blamed for that? I believe that is the problem though, Miami city officials should make Urban Beach Week an actual event and provide more organization, more accommodations and structure and not just throw in police when commotion erupts.

Let’s discuss! Are events centered around young African-Americans getting too much of a bad rap? Are the police to blame? Why?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jim
    Jun 03, 2011 @ 16:19:40

    I’ll be honest. I was down there. That event was ratchet as a mug. I think its gone downhill over time. I was a block away from one of the shootings and its not like police were just there for that. I saw police outside the window at all times. They really didnt do much to obstruct the 20+ people standing in front of my building hustlin on the low, or the ones at the next building over, and I heard they were much more friendly now than in years past engaging in conversations with alot of folk when previously they had been assholes leading to tension. I think this different approach seemed to be working for a couple days at least.

    The ratchet dudes with no game, either a mouth full of golds or dreads going in 3 opposite directions were grabbing on every female arm that passed to the point girls were asking for wet wipes and saying theyd never come out again kinda f’d it up for alot of smoother dudes who might come with convo. Im not a hood dude but Ive lived in the hood in the past but outside of the club at night it was just extra hood, like dudes who couldnt pretend to have any other profession except trappin, you cant even work at a mcdonalds coming like that. I come from a city with plenty of killings etc but most of these dudes can at least fake like they do something else.

    Anyway its bad enough police wetted the dude up with about 100 bullets when 5 could have finished the job. But then they were chasing guys up and down the block damn near causing stampedes and hitting innocent bystanders. I think they thought it was a good time to go after some of those same trapstars they had left alone before.

    Part of it is the police fault for not going after some of the more ridiculous noise violations etc. sooner. Any time I have some asshole shaking the hotel room from 12am-6am blasting rick ross greatest hits out of 12 subs, I’m sure the residents are gonna be pissed. But that still probably doesnt prevent the car chase with someone whose probably drunk, though it shows they arent playing as much and may have prevented the others. It brings revenue to the city so thats why they didnt seem to be enforcing against non violent acts, though they did pull someone over hitting a jay in the car I saw.

    As far as the trash goes thats any event. I dont think New Orleans is about to cancel mardi gras which leaves trash on every corner etc. But every one I talked to said the event was way more hood this year than in years past. In the clubs and occasionally on the beach itself was a different story. But outside it was like either you had girls looking for the next lil boosie, or the ones who swore theyd never come again. Back when freaknik was at its peak it may have been slightly rowdy but it wasnt that hood of an event. IE something you could stay in the slums of your own city for or the black equivalent of a massive white trailer park. Probably because Freaknik was organized by a city that prides itself on its smooth flavor, and it was for college kids though it expanded some after moving to atlanta. This was mostly an older less educated crowd.


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