This past weekend (Memorial Day weekend) I was given the chance to spend a few days in Miami. Now, I didn’t mean to come here at this time, but due to an injury (which delayed a previous trip) and non-refundable airline tickets that I had to use before a busy summer season back in LA, I decided to travel back to my hometown for a breath of fresh humid air. I completely forgot that Memorial Day Weekend (presently known as “Urban Beach Week”) is the reincarnation of Freaknik. That means plenty of hip-hop debauchery, sweet concoctions, and deft booty shaking.
On the way into South Beach, an electronic sign posted this message from the city: “Welcome to Miami Beach… Happy Memorial Day weekend… No Open Containers… No Loud Music.” I’m not sure the city will get its way on the last two notes, but I am fairly certain that the reason the city of Miami Beach is being so naggy with their welcome sign, is that in past years Miami Hip-Hop Weekend has been a bit more than they can handle.
Sure, the weekend gets rowdy. It’s hip-hop, non-stop all over every club from Washington Ave to Ocean Drive. But I’m here to say that the cops are a little too heavy handed. Over the past few years, the Miami Beach Police department has filled up their weekend booking cells to the tune of thousands of arrests, most of which occur for minor infractions like drinking on the sidewalk or asking officers why you can’t head down a blocked-off street. Because many of this weekend’s patrons tend to be African American, the ACLU has time again charged the MBPD with racial profiling, a charge the MBPD adamantly denies. Last year there were over 500 arrests, down from as many as 1,000 in 2006.
After this weekend, I have compiled a list of a few tips for newbies who ever want to attend Urban Beach Week. Don’t look cops directly in the eye, don’t yell at your friends like you’re gonna belt them over the head for creepin’ on the girl you were eyeing, and respect these new mundane laws (which the city will lift on Tuesday) when you stagger home, including blasting beats from your ride as you’re cruising or drinking on the beach.
As for the parties, one bash of note that I attended was Rick Ross’ Slipe ‘N Slide Records party at Cameo, which featured his new tracks and an ass shaking contest. I also got in to Diddy’s exclusive fiesta at Karma (in spite of a walking boot). Diddy was seen in the VIP room fist pumping to a break in the hip-hop when a few house-y tracks were played. Oh PS, Diddy told one of the promoters who then relayed to me that he’s working on a house music album. Watch out.