Why Sponsoring Caribbean Events in South Florida is a Win-win for Business

Sponsoring Caribbean Events in South Florida
John Beckford, Marketing Director of Miami Carnival

SOUTH FLORIDA – Caribbean American projects and events in South Florida represent a thriving segment of the community, rich with cultural and economic opportunities. Despite their significant impact, many corporate entities overlook the potential benefits of engaging with these initiatives. Giovanni Moss, the creator of Road Ready TV, John Beckford, the marketing director of Miami Carnival, and Eddy Edwards, the CEO of Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, provide compelling insights into why businesses should embrace these opportunities.

Giovanni Moss and Road Ready

Road Ready TV brings a unique perspective to the importance of sponsoring Caribbean American projects. Born in the Bahamas and now based in Florida, Moss has dedicated his career to community service and sustainable development.

Road Ready, Moss’s carnival-themed reality show, follows a group of carnival enthusiasts as they experience various Caribbean carnivals. The show not only highlights the fun and excitement of carnival, but also delves into the cultural and historical significance of these events. The first season, set at Orlando Carnival, explored the intersection of carnival with the history of Black people in the area. Upcoming seasons will feature Miami Carnival, Jamaica Carnival, Trinidad Carnival, and St. Lucia Carnival, showcasing the diversity and richness of Caribbean culture.

In a recent interview, Moss emphasized the broader implications of carnival. “Carnival is not just about having a good time; it’s about economic empowerment and cultural pride,” he said. His goal is to use Road Ready TV to promote and preserve Caribbean culture while creating economic opportunities for small businesses and vendors associated with carnival. The next season of Road Ready will air in August on the Road Ready TV YouTube channel during Jamaica’s Independence weekend, fittingly covering Jamaica Carnival.

Miami Carnival: A Cultural and Economic Powerhouse

Moss, who has recently entered a strategic partnership with Miami Carnival, emphasizes the dual benefits of partnering with Caribbean American events. “Aligning with brands like Miami Carnival offers a direct gateway to significant cultural and economic impact,” he explains. His partnership leverages Miami Carnival’s expansive reach, which attracts thousands of participants and tourists, boosting local businesses and the economy.

In a 2022 article in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, John Beckford highlighted the economic ripple effect of such events. “The tourists that arrive for Miami Carnival fill planes, hotels, and car rentals. Everyone benefits, from street vendors to major retailers,” he noted. According to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Miami Carnival generates an estimated $30 million in economic impact annually, with spending on hotels, transportation, dining, and shopping contributing significantly to the local economy.

Miami Carnival is an annual event that celebrates Caribbean culture and heritage through a vibrant display of music, dance, and elaborate costumes. Established in 1984, it has grown into one of the most significant cultural festivals in South Florida. Attracting participants and visitors from all over the world. The carnival includes a variety of events such as the Junior Carnival, steel band competition, J’ouvert (a pre-dawn parade known for its colorful paint and powder), and the main parade and concert.

Held during the Columbus Day weekend, Miami Carnival 2024 will take place from October 11th to 14th.  The festival showcases diverse Caribbean music genres like soca, calypso, reggae, and dancehall.

The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival

Like Miami Carnival, the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival is an annual event that attracts diverse ethnicities and key demographics. The festival, set for November 10, 2024 at Miramar Regional Park, is part of a broader mission to promote and maintain the authenticity of Jamaican culinary artforms.

An example of successful sponsorship of Caribbean American events is Publix’s support of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival for 15 years. “Publix saw the value in our community,” Edwards explains. “Caribbean people shop at Publix; that is why Publix has created an entire section of their stores for Caribbean products. And our community will continue to patronize Publix.”

The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival features an expansive food court with vendors offering various jerk dishes, including chicken, pork, fish, and vegetables, alongside Jamaican favorites like oxtail, curry goat, and escovitch fish. Attendees enjoy live performances by prominent artists such as the Grammy-winning reggae group Morgan Heritage. The event offers a tapestry of Caribbean food, music, and culture. Best of all, making it a must-attend celebration that attracts over 10,000 guests annually.

Strengthening Community Bonds

Sponsoring Caribbean American projects also strengthens community bonds. Miami Carnival, for instance, is more than a cultural spectacle. It is a unifying force that brings together people from diverse backgrounds. Beckford emphasized this in a 2019 WLRN article, saying, “Carnival is a time to get together, have a good time, and reconnect with friends and family.” This cultural cohesion fosters a sense of belonging and pride among Caribbean Americans. As a result, enhancing community engagement and support.

Moss echoes this sentiment, noting that Caribbean American communities are eager for initiatives that reflect their heritage and identity. “Supporting ourselves first is crucial,” Moss asserts. “When Caribbean businesses back these projects, it showcases our culture’s vibrancy and potential, encouraging wider corporate participation.”

Opportunities for Corporate Entities

Corporate entities miss significant opportunities by not tapping into Caribbean American projects, Moss says. He points out that Road Ready TV has not yet landed a major financial partner, despite its growing popularity. He notes that corporations are missing out on opportunities for direct access to the economically and politically influential demographic of Caribbean Americans in South Florida.

Edwards adds that effective marketing to the Caribbean American community can yield substantial returns. “We are a very solid market. Once public entities market to us, they will see a return,” he asserts.

Caribbean American projects offer unique platforms for brand visibility and customer engagement. Approximately 1.1 million Caribbean Americans reside in South Florida. In Miami-Dade County alone it is home to around 864,800 Caribbean immigrants, according to the Migration Policy Institute. This demographic is deeply connected to events like Miami Carnival and the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival. These events celebrates their Caribbean cultural heritage.

Enhancing Cultural Appreciation

Sponsoring Caribbean American events like Miami Carnival also plays a critical role in enhancing cultural appreciation, Beckford discussed in a 2022 interview with Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. “Beyond the economic and social value, there’s significant artistic and cultural importance.”

Moss also highlights the educational aspect of these events through his Road Ready TV show, which aims to promote and educate about carnival culture. “Carnival is one of the unifying pastimes for Caribbean people. It represents expression, freedom, culture, and inclusiveness,” Moss explained in a recent interview. By showcasing the cultural richness and historical significance of carnival, initiatives like Road Ready TV help dispel misconceptions and foster a deeper appreciation for Caribbean heritage.

Edwards agrees, noting that the Caribbean American community’s diverse interests extend beyond their own culture, embracing a variety of products and services. “We go to carnival, but we also enjoy the opera and the symphony,” he says, emphasizing the broad appeal of the community.

The multifaceted benefits of supporting Caribbean American projects and events, as outlined by Moss, Beckford, and Edwards, underscore the significant cultural, economic, and community advantages these initiatives offer. Embracing these opportunities allows businesses to enhance their visibility, engage with a dynamic community, and contribute to the flourishing cultural landscape of South Florida.


South Florida Caribbean News

The Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

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