Urban Beach Weekend: Why it needs to end

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Urban Beach Weekend is an annual, totally informal event on South Beach. Tens of thousand of tourists flock here for a three-day celebration of hip hop. It’s long been a point of tension on Miami Beach and this year, after a Sunday night altercation ended with a shooting, a police chase, and a police shooting, Miami Beach city officials are looking for ways to curtail the annual event. 

As an elected Miami Beach City Commissioner, protecting the safety and quality of life of Miami Beach residents is my main duty. I take that job seriously. For over 17 years, tens of thousands of our residents have fled or locked their doors during the Memorial Day holiday weekend due to crime and violence, exponentially more than any other weekend.

With arrests and incidents in the hundreds every year, including two shootings and a stabbing within blocks of my home this past week, it is long past the time we reevaluate how this weekend and all high-impact weekends are handled by our city. Floatopia was a perfect example of a non-sanctioned, promoter-driven annual event in South Beach that had to be ended due to crime, litter, and public safety concerns. I led the effort to end it. Our future ordinances must be sensible, equitable, and NOT have a detrimental impact to our local economy, small businesses, and tourism tax base.

Miami Beach welcomes all, unless visitors arrive with the intent of abusing people or causing harm. Yes, our city will always have crime, like the incident at the Fontainebleau between two (Miami) Rolling Live attendees.

But the increase during high-impact weekends must end, which includes Memorial Day. “Urban Beach Week,” a moniker created by the online promoters of the unsanctioned, unpermitted “event,” would be welcomed in Miami Beach if not for the excessive incidents of crime, such as this year’s reported murder.

The Memorial Day holiday should be about reflection, gratitude, and honoring fallen soldiers. It shouldn’t have to be measured as a success or failure by the number of arrests, shootings, or stabbings that occur.

It is disappointing that anyone would try to make this about race. The issue is about preventing crime in our city. The dialogue must be about protecting Miami Beach, and I encourage all to participate in meaningful, constructive dialogue instead of divisive rhetoric, demagoguery, and false accusations. I will always do what is right for our city and put resident quality of life and public safety first, regardless of the potential controversy it may bring.

Local educator and BMe leader Webber Charles urged Miami to find a way to embrace Urban Beach Weekend’s tourists. You can read it here.

  • dianab

    Wow, I thought there would be more comments.

    Miami Beach should just do what it did this past memorial day weekend, be a host and treat UBW as the big city wide event it really is, sanctioned or not, with hospitality teams and friendly cops (not the black uniforms helmets, big guns and barricades, like riot control or something… of previous years). For me, a resident of Miami Beach since 1988, who has been present ever year since UBW started in 1996, it has always been the city’s handling of the event that was problematic. Because of the Sea and Air show the city finally responded properly, positively and it made a difference. I’m not turning a blind eye to the problems of crowds and crime, but theses things are part of any event of this size. And by the way, I could not even read the article above, I tried, but it just sounds like political grand standing from a mayoral candidate, not analysis.

  • Zach

    @disqus_Opu5E1zHff:disqus- I’d have to agree with you, very little to no analysis here.
    For instance: “But the increase during high-impact weekends must end, which includes Memorial Day.”
    Could we see some data to back up this claim? Monthly crime rates (violent vs. Non-violent) on Miami Beach for the past 5 years? See if this is really out of the ordinary?

  • Valerie

    The problem isn’t race it’s the performers they are hiring. If they keep bringing in rappers that promote gun violence they will get proponents of gun violence. You can’t expect anything else there are black people all over the world only a small percentage of people of all races will listen to their hate and misogyny and think it is entertaining. Why not invite artists that have more to offer then the same old stories of being a drug dealer having women give them blow jobs and making stacks of money. Rapping about how their homies rob, murder and humiliate people? There is so much love and creativity in the black community but the promoters are just lazy how about promoting black designers and artists all the amazing food the fun the life and the joy? Black people should be just as angry about the violence and hate these groups are spewing. just turn on the tv and watch the news young kids are being murdered daily around the country and no one is connecting the dots here. Just like when we were in school learning the alphabet song young kids are learning about how to be a thug and kill.

  • BPM

    I’d say this is lazy analysis, but there doesn’t seem to be any analysis here. If you read both articles, it is clear that only one of the two authors is willing to have a dialogue about race. See: Webber Charles. However, dismissing, or feeling disappointed, that others see this as racial conflict falls in line with the myth of colorblind racism. Ending Urban Beach Week(end) is not a bout *race* but about *preventing crime*, *supporting local businesses*, and improving *quality of life*. These dog whistles are necessary because this piece does not actively engage with race apart from its leading photo. So this comment, like the Charles piece, is not concerned with whether the event stays or goes, but rather the importance of changing the narrative. Meaningful and constructive dialogue in a majority white city should include a thoughtful reckoning of racial contestation.

    • Mario

      Miami Beach is heavily Hispanic and Jewish, at one point it was heavily LGBQT also. But nice try.