5 Things You Didn’t Know About Miami As A Destination For Black Travelers

The growing art and culture Miami festival Art Basel attracted more than 76,000 attendees for its 20th anniversary. Taking place from Dec. 1 to 3, it drew such celebrities as A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, Cardi B, Offset, Kodak Black, and more. Besides the event itself, parties and functions were thrown in the city to coordinate with the festival, which has become one of the year’s coolest annual events. 

Black tourists flocked to the city at the time. Miami is always a popular destination. In 2021, 15.9 million overnight visitors and an additional 8.3 million day visitors totaling 24.2 million, came to the area. 

The Black population of it is 15.98 percent, according to World Population Review. 

1. Miami and Art Basel

Art Basel has become a popular Black tourist event, although it didn’t start out as such. The event was founded in 1970 by Basel art gallerists Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt with the primary goal of promoting art. The festival is a for-profit, privately owned and managed, international art fair staged annually in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach; Hong Kong and from 2022, Paris.

2. Black hotels in Miami

Miami does have a number of Black-owned businesses, hotels included. One is Dunns Josephine Hotel, owned by Kristin Kitchen. The boutique hotel is located in Historic Overtown and its decor combines Miami glitz and the glamor of the Harlem Renaissance. The decorations of the 15 guest rooms are inspired by legends Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Cab Calloway, Marcus Garvey, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holliday.

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There’s also The Copper Door B&B, a bed and breakfast with a vintage style. It has 22 rooms and is in Historical Overtown. 

Overtown was the epicenter of thriving Black wealth, culture, arts, and businesses in the early 1900s, South Florida Times reported. The historic Overtown neighborhood was known as both the Black Wall Street of Miami and Harlem of the South. Legends like W.E.B. Du Bois, Sammy Davis Jr., Martin Luther King Jr., and Muhammad Ali were all known to visit the area.

3. Black restaurants in Miami

If it’s vegan you want, it has to be Vegetarian Restaurant by Hakin. On the menus: Vegan Pancakes and Scrambled Tofu, Kale Tofu Scramble and Toast, Coconut Curried Sautéed Vegan Salmon, among other things.

A hot spot is World Famous House Of Mac, opened by Derrick Turton, aka “Chef Teach.” He s a former club promoter who once worked with artists like Pitbull and A$AP Rocky, Travel Noire reported. The menu is a fusion of Caribbean and soul food.

Another eatery to try out is Lil Greenhouse Grill, which began as a food truck. Must-tries include: handcrafted seafood cakes with house aioli or slow-smoked BBQ ribs with Chef’s herbs and spices.

4. Miami, not always Black-Friendly

There have long been complaints that Miami, particularly Miami Beach, has been openly hostile toward the Black tourists who visit on holidays like spring break and Memorial Day weekend.

One of Miami Beach’s most politically connected businessmen referred to Black tourists as “bad tourists” in a 2019 email, which was leaked to Miami New Times. The email was sent by businessman Mike Palma, vice president of Business Development for Miami-Fort Lauderdale Area, to his fellow executives at the Clevelander hotel and bar on March 16, 2019. The subject line read: “SPRING Break 2019- our Spring Ghetto Disaster.”

In it, Palma wrote, the African American demographic “is NOT a consumer demographic that our city or we want on our public beaches, parks and streets. They are classless, unbecoming, uneducated, ignorant and a bunch of loiterers who spend little money in the district.”

At the time, Palma chaired the Ocean Drive Association, which represents business and property owners on the strip. He was also an executive vice president of the Jesta Group, which bought the Clevelander hotel for $20.6 million in 2018.

5. Miami curfew

Miami has been issuing curfews during spring break and many Black visitors feel the curfews were targeting them.

In 2021, Miami Beach officials implemented an 8 p.m. curfew over the weekend and drew police units from across Miami-Dade County to enforce it. And the curfew has reoccured every year during spring break.

“You create a police state, and where you think you’re fixing a problem you might be creating more problems,” Valerie Crawford, a member of the city’s newly created Black Affairs Committee, told The Washington Post. “You almost corralled them into a cage.”

Photo: Pexels, https://www.pexels.com/photo/aerial-view-of-city-buildings-near-body-of-water-4366062/

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