by Howard Campbell
[MIAMI GARDENS] – It was all about ‘Jamaica Land We Love’ at Bunche Park in Miami Gardens on August 7, as that city recognized the country’s 59th year of independence with the inaugural Reggae Summer Splash.
A live show featuring Mykal Rose and Red Rat, as well as acknowledgement of the contributions of Jamaican stalwarts to the development of Miami Gardens and South Florida, were the highlights.
Shannan Ighodaro, councilwoman of Miami Gardens who brought a resolution to her committee to stage the event, was impressed by the reception.
“I am quite pleased with the turnout of Reggae Summer Splash. It was a clear indication that the Jamaican- American population in Miami Gardens has a voice as they proudly celebrated Jamaica’s 59th Independence. I was satisfied to see both young and old proudly display Jamaican flags, attire, and enjoy live music from Grammy Award winner Mykal Rose and Red Rat,” she said.
Watch improntu performance with Red Rat and Consul General Oliver Mair.
The honoring of Jamaican-American “cultural icons” was a highlight of the four-hour show. Among the recipients were Hortense McGillvery, Dr. Lavern Deer, Basil Cole, Craig Duncan, Dr. Thelma Cole, and Pastor Don Clarke Jr.
Disc Jockeys John Tyrell “John T” Hodgson, Pat Montague and Anthony “Tanto Irie” Garrick, Ian Hamilton and Xavier Murphy, publishers of the South Florida Caribbean News and Jamaicans.com websites, were also honored.
Ighodaro, who is from The Bahamas, said it is critical for contributions of the Caribbean community in South Florida, be recognized. That service, she noted, has been unyielding even before the area got city status in 2003.
“Miami Gardens is the largest black city in Florida and is the epicenter for Caribbean culture in the state. About 50 per cent of its residents are West Indians. A large number of prominent businesses (Moms and Pop) in Miami Gardens are owned by Jamaican-Americans who sponsored and donated towards the event,” the councilwoman explained.
Reggae Summer Splash, which took place one day after Jamaica’s official day of Independence, was powered by Inner Circle and Abebe Lewis Marketing and Branding.
Scenes from Reggae Summer Splash