Papa Keith’s Annual People Matter Fest Is Set for March 18 at Traz Powell Stadium
MIAMI – Since its inception, anywhere hip-hop went, activism was never far behind. 103.5 The Beat’s host, Papa Keith, upholds this sentiment through his annual gun-violence awareness hip-hop festival, People Matter Fest [PMF]. Produced through his nonprofit Papa Keith 4 People Matter (PK4PM) Foundation, the event this year will take place on March 17- March 18, with the free music festival kicking off on the 18th from 12 pm-7 pm at Traz Powell Stadium (11380 NW 27th Ave, Miami).
On March 17, the festival kicks off with a football and basketball tournament open to the public at Gwen Cherry Park, located at 7090 NW 22nd Ave, Miami, FL 33147. The football tournament will begin at 4 pm, and the Basketball tournament will commence at 7 pm, marking the start of the 24-Hour Cease Fire Campaign to help combat gun violence throughout Miami-Dade County.
The free “world-class” hip-hop festival returns with fresh entertainment and an emboldened stance on the same powerful mission. The two-day event will be full of music, sports, family fun, and, most pivotal: advocacy. The county-acclaimed 24-hour ceasefire campaign, rallying Miami-Dade to refrain from gun use for the day. The ceasefire will start on March 17. And remain throughout the festival.
Unnecessary Gun Violence
“We suffer from a lot of unnecessary gun violence here in South Florida, so we definitely need the 24-hour ceasefire,” said Keith. “I don’t know if it’s luck, but the ceasefire is our biggest success story. We go directly into the communities with gun violence issues and ask them to respect the ceasefire to ensure a peaceful festival.”
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava Partners with Papa Keith
“I am proud to partner with Papa Keith for the much-needed Cease Fire campaign at his signature People Matter Fest, which has proven to be a success year after year,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and sponsor of the event. “Miami-Dade now has one of the lowest rates of gun violence in any metro area in the country, and it’s thanks to innovative and successful violence prevention initiatives that our County government and community partners are implementing. We want all of our residents and visitors to feel safe and enjoy a wonderful day of music and fun without fear. This collaboration is a huge step towards safer communities for all,” says Daniella Levine Cava-Miami-Dade County Mayor.
Show of Support
“I am proud to support the People Matter Fest and PK4PM movement to positively shape the future of underserved communities. This annual event has been hosted in District 2, and I look forward to another wonderful event, with everyone in the community in attendance”, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Marlene Bastien.
“We believe that young people are the very essence of our future. The future of our nation lies in the hands of the next generation. I believe that if we want the best for our children and our nation, we need to empower and strengthen our youth. I believe that Papa Keith’s People Matter Fest is set to do just that. We need more awareness and education so we can lessen the crimes on our streets. Enough is enough, and we need to enforce the 24-hour ceasefire,” said Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall, Miami-Dade County Public Schools Board member for District 2 and sponsor of the event.
Headlining the festival is Grammy-nominated Floridian rapper Plies – accompanied by performances from Mellow Rackz, Ice Billion Berg, Mike Smiff, and many other local talents.
Trina, Rick Ross, The City Girls, and Trick Daddy – to name a few, are amongst past artists that have graced PM Fest stages.
“I work on a hip-hop radio station and love hip-hop music, but it gets a bad reputation,” Keith said. “My goal is to unite, suppress gun violence, and create a community using hip-hop and show that it’s not all bad – that we do good things in the community, for the community.”
Keith, a Brooklyn native, crafted the PM Fest initiative in 2017 with his team out of his love for hip-hop and the dire need to educate Miami-Dade inner-city youth about the perennial issue of gun violence. Today, the fest is Liberty City’s first and only music festival – generating a crowd of over 5,000 attendees annually.
Among these yearly attendees is Romania Dukes, founder of advocacy nonprofit Mothers Fighting for Justice. Her son De’Michael was only 18 when a stray bullet shot and killed him in 2014 – his killer has since not been identified. In the midst of grief, Dukes channeled her pain into being a source of light for other grieving mothers, birthing the nonprofit.
As an award-winning community activist who partners with the Miami-Dade Police Department and the State Attorney’s office, Dukes is notified of every gun-related homicide in the community. Not only does she receive an ample amount of these calls but “nine times out of ten,” Dukes says she knows the victim or their parents.
“I don’t want to see any more kids dying in these streets,” Dukes said. “Our community needs to hear mother’s voices and radio hosts saying, ‘put the gun down.’ So, I want to thank Papa Keith and the 103.5 The Beat team for this 24-hour ceasefire. I love it and participate yearly – it’s the best thing a radio station and community could have done.”
Dukes said she looks forward to attending PMF every year.
“I come every time as a vendor to give out information to the community, and I show the crime stoppers fliers with different kids who died,” Dukes said. “I’m in your [PMF youth attendees] face with it, and I want them to see that the faces of these kids are your friends, and the only way to stop is through you.”
Gun Safety Advocate
Reports from a gun violence prevention organization Everytown For Gun Safety, indicate that the use of firearms accounts for over 70 percent of homicides in Florida. Statistics as such are all the more reasons to clear your calendars for the People Matter Fest. Don’t miss the chance to see your favorite hip-hop acts perform live and simultaneously advocate for a paramount cause.
This impactful event requires six months of preparation; Keith said it wouldn’t be possible without his team.
“I have an all-female team helping put this [People Matter Fest] together, and they have been amazing,” Keith said. “I’m a dreamer, so I come up with all of these ideas of how I want it to look like and be, and they are relentless in helping me shape that.”
Through sponsorships such as Miami-Dade County, United Teachers of Dade, The Children’s Trust, Dunkin, and many more — the hip-hop festival will have community vendors, resource centers, and a “kid zone” with carnival rides, art activities, and giveaways.
“Hip-hop is my life, so to be able to bring community and hip-hop together in this way is very special to me,” Keith said.