by Howard Campbell
MIAMI – Since it was first held in 2017, Let There Be Reggae has brought a different dimension to Art Basel Miami. Organizers of the annual event say they continued to make gains at this year’s comeback show.
Held December 1 at Brickell at Aaru Miami, it was the first Let There Be Reggae since 2020. For the past two years, COVID-19 put the shutters on what is a staple on the South Florida Caribbean-American calendar.
Jennifer Brown, marketing representative for Let There Be Reggae, said support from fans was “overwhelming”.
She added that, “Their participation was a reminder of the importance of arts, culture and the enjoyment of reggae/dancehall music that goes beyond politics, languages and cultural backgrounds.”
The exhibition again zoomed in on catalogs of creatives who express the Caribbean experience. Featured were Jamaican Homer Blair, founder of the Cooyah Clothing Line; Trinidadian artist/illustrator Nicholas Huggins and American photographer Sista Irie from Texas.
Like previous editions, there was a strong music component. Baby Cham and Wyclef Jean did an impromptu jam while sound system selector Supa Twitch played the hit songs fan love to hear.
Past participants including photographer Steve James and sound system selector King Waggie, entertainment lawyer Lloyd Stanbury and Oliver Mair, Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami, were some of the attendees.
Brown believes Let There Be Reggae — the brainchild of Haitian-American Alan Jean — has grown significantly.
“South Florida is one of the most culturally enriched and dynamic destinations for mainstream arts. We try to capture the odyssey of reggae, dancehall music and the revolution of the sound system culture in a unique, curated art exhibition. Let There Be Reggae organically grows every year simply due to the influence this musical scene has had in the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Israel, Australia, Africa and the US. Every year we get a chance to feature artwork from a very interesting and talented artist from some different part of the world,” she said.