Soca, Reggae, Kompa and Latin sounds filled Shirley Branca Park in Miramar on Saturday, June 22 as residents and visitors to the city gathered to celebrate Caribbean-American Heritage Month in true fashion. Crowds began rolling in early armed with lawn chairs, umbrellas and flags waving high, ready to enjoy this family-friendly event presented by The City as part of their “Culture in the Night” series.
The event started with the sounds of DJ Trooklyn selecting a variety of hits representing various Caribbean countries. MC Yvette Marshall of WAVS began the roll call of Caribbean islands as the stage opened, welcoming patrons representing the entire Caribbean, from Suriname to Trinidad to Dominican Republic. Damali Adele Ife’s dub poetry received snaps from the audience while comedian Rohan Gunter had the entire crowd in stitches. Performers Audley Rollen brought praises to the stage with his gospel medley and young songstress Kali Akeylah wowed the crowd with her vocals, singing Reggae classics and original tracks. The Body Nations Dancers took the performance from the stage straight into the crowd with Reggae and Calypso dances performed by children in age ranging from 7 to 18.
The sweet aroma of Jerk Chicken and other delectable Caribbean foods filled the air as patrons joined lines to purchase food, drink and novelties while swaying to the music. The young ones were busy as they romped in the kidz zone equipped with bounce houses and video game stations.
Vice Mayor Alexandra Davis addressed the audience and noted the diversity of the community and the outstanding Caribbean representation within Miramar. She proceeded to introduce Commissioners Messam and Colbourne, who joined her on stage with Broward School Board member Patricia Good as they all briefly expressed their delight with the evening’s activities.
As the musical action on the stage continued, the Haitian flavor spiced the evening as Shleu Shleu delivered a set that had everyone dancing and waving their flags. Laura Vivas & Remix brought the Latin flare to the stage, performing popular Salsa and Bachata songs that had the entire crowd singing along. Energy was the theme for the Caribbean Music Farm’s performance as they had the whole crowd on their feet whining to classic Calypso and Soca rhythms. Code Red Band continued the arsenal of the band performances with a lively Reggae set. The show’s headliner, Glen Washington, delivered an hour-long performance of his popular hits and a slew of Reggae classics.
It was truly a night of Caribbean-American Heritage Celebration in the City as patrons left satisfied and proud.