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Why I Avoid Memorial Day in Miami

May 28, 2010 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Local News  | 34 Comments


All year long there is at least a veneer of political correctness in this city. People at least pretend to be tolerant and respectful of other races and cultures. But not Memorial Day. Memorial Day is the one time of the year that pretty much everyone is open about their dislike of a certain segment of society coming to town.



For those who are unaware, Memorial Day weekend in Miami is an unofficial “Urban Beach Weekend.” Much less euphemistically, this means that South Beach is more or less filled with black people. What usually follows is a weekend with lots of arrests, lots of girls being harassed on the street, and lots of SUVs with rims that cost more than the driver’s house.

And so, we all make plans to go out of town to get as far away from it as we can. Why? Because there’s a bunch of Black people on the Beach? The knee-jerk PC folks would probably say so, but skin color has nothing to do with it. It’s about Hip-Hop culture.



You see, if the Association of Black Lawyers wanted to have a conference on the Beach, I’m pretty sure nobody would make a point to leave town. If the National Association of Black Accountants wanted to have its annual retreat in Sobe, I’m guessing the city would not hire extra cops with riot gear. But this is a celebration of Hip-Hop culture. A culture which mainly revolves around violence, drugs, misogyny and competitive conspicuous consumption. This then leads to fights, stabbings, shootings and all around nastiness for the City of Miami Beach.

The city’s many service industry employees also suffer during this weekend. When I was bartending in the Beach, a manager once told me “You will never work so hard for so little money than you will on Memorial Day.” He obviously never served in the U.S. Military, but I got the point. Most waiters and bartenders I know say they get more walkouts Memorial Day weekend than they get the rest of the year combined. And don’t even think about a tip.

And THAT is why locals avoid the Beach like the plague on Memorial Day. It’s not about skin color, folks, it’s about behavior.



What I find most entertaining is people who blame this on racism. I read Uncle Luke’s column over in the New Times about it. I usually agree with our city’s favorite Hip hop mogul, but what he failed to realize here is that this isn’t about the City not welcoming Black people. It’s about the city not welcoming the many, many negative aspects of Hip-Hop culture. If people didn’t get in fights, and didn’t harass women on the street, and didn’t clog our streets “cruising” in rented Escalades, maybe we wouldn’t have a problem.


Luke mentions wanting to have an event like Art Basel or the Super Bowl (which he referred to as Lilly White. Not sure what beach he was on when the Saints fans were in town) for Blacks that the City would get behind. But you don’t see art fans stabbing each other over paintings, now do you? You don’t see Colts fans hollering obscenities at female Saints fans who walk by. When the visitors for Memorial Day can start behaving like our visitors for other festivals, the residents and the City will start treating them as such. Until then, the only smart Miamians who stick around to see this disaster will be the cops who are collecting overtime.

Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

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34 Comments on

"Why I Avoid Memorial Day in Miami"

DrEnglishGrammar says:

note to meltzer: you can revolve on, not arround

Posted on 05/28/2010 at 5:32 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

So the Earth revolves on the sun? I am confused…

Posted on 05/28/2010 at 5:59 PM

Bill says:

I used to live on South Beach and have witnessed more than a few Hip Hop weekends.

I never understand why people say they are getting out of town.

Most of the action is concentrated on SoBe. If you go to a section - like West Ave and 10th St. for instance - you wouldn’t even know that anything unusual was taking place.

Also, I’ve walked around in the middle of it all and have never experienced anything negative.

A majority of the bad behavior is perpetrated by a small group of people who are drawn to this kind of crowd. But for the most part, everyone is well behaved.

Posted on 05/28/2010 at 6:49 PM

Sungal and G-bunny says:

“You see, if the Association of Black Lawyers wanted to have a conference on the Beach, I’m pretty sure nobody would make a point to leave town. If the National Association of Black Accountants wanted to have its annual retreat”

So black professionals would be OK then? Why does South Beach tolerate the distateful Porn convention, the rowdy, drunk, immature Spring Breakers, and drug filled WMC crowds? They’re white.

Posted on 05/28/2010 at 7:33 PM

pod says:

Every weekend is hip hop weekend on South Beach. And you have the stones to bitch about the porn covention, WMC, and Spring Break. Grow the fuck up!

Posted on 05/28/2010 at 8:11 PM

Carlos Miller says:

So what you’re saying is that if black people conform to white standards, then they are welcome.

But if they remain true to their blackness, which is what hip hop is all about, then they are not welcome.

If police wanted to, they could arrest the same number of people for the same amount of crimes on any given weekend.

And really, who gives a shit if they want to spend their money on rims and SUVs? What does that have to do with anything?

This is really nothing but a culture clash. And to get beyond that, it requires both sides to understand the other side.

Posted on 05/28/2010 at 10:15 PM

pod says:

It’s not about color. It’s about a lifestyle. I could give two shits about anyone’s culture, but not when it involves some of the shit I’ve seen. Some food for thought: “Shitting in a potted plant”.

If PC means excusing that, well, then I’m a fucking Mac.

Posted on 05/28/2010 at 11:22 PM

Carlos Miller says:


That shitting in a pot plant, if you are referring to the video I think you are, took place in Canada. And it was a Native-American Indian.

Yeah, I don’t know what the fuck was up with that.

But what does that have to do with this?

Posted on 05/28/2010 at 11:30 PM

Russ Jones says:


Nice PC spin there.  Sorry, but if “remain true to their blackness” means quick money from drug deals, knocking up multiple ‘baby mommas’, etc., that isn’t the lifestyle that will keep America great.  For the most part, the gangsta, hip-hop lifestyle is a gutter lifestyle.  We have the exact same thing in Indy every summer: Black Expo.  This is a week long event, with one day of hanging out/cruising.  That day is the second Saturday, and basically from the hours of 9PM till early morning, all hell breaks loose.  The only event where tens of thousands come to downtown Indy and cause the need for thousands of cops to be on the street.  We don’t need the cops when the gaming folks come to town (GenCon—-and it is a four day 24/7 event, never stops the entire time), we didn’t need the massive show of force when the racing convention was in town.  Also, why is it that Black Expo is the only major event where there are _always_ shots fired, and about 75% of the time, someone shot (if not killed).  It is a culture clash, and urban/black/inner city African-American/gangsta/hip-hop/whatever-you-want-to-call-it culture is horrendous.  This is why the Indy Black Expo has seen about four shooting deaths, and roughly 20 people shot since I have been in the know.  It was only three or four summers ago when six, yes six people, were shot in downtown Indy during the event.  When the FFA convention comes to town, no one gets shot.  When GenCon is in town, no one gets shot.  When the performance auto racing convention was in town, no one gets shots.  When the firefighters convention is in town, no one gets shots.  So yes, I avoid downtown Indy during Black Expo on the second Saturday from about 8PM on ward, as that is when the violence happens.  Unfortunately, the acts of inner city gangsta types run the image for the entire event.  The exact same thing about bars and tips holds true in Indy.

The problem I have isn’t that it happens.  We are talking about public spaces here, so there is a right to be out on the sidewalk.  What gets me is the flat out refusal of the African-American community to speak out against this behavior.  It is always the standard “These people were not part of the event.”  Whatever.  The event has caused the problem, the event still goes on the next day following the problem.  The fact remains, it is BS that thousands of cops are thrown into downtown Indy to provide all this extra security for one group, but not the others.  It is flat out discrimination.  If I were the event planners for the other conventions, I would go to the city and demand the same number of cops that work Black Expo on that Saturday be on the streets during my events big day.

If blacks conform to white standards, they might actually save their culture.  If they want to embrace knocked up 14 year olds, multiple out-of-wedlock births, fast money via crime, etc.., so be it.  All that will eventually do is lead to the break-up of this country, as eventually the productive class (you know, those people who “conform to white standards”) will get sick and tired of paying for the gutter moral and values class.  Why should I, a white guy who works my ass off, raise my kids to “conform to white standards” just so they can be taxed more and more to pay to feed, school, and cloth a bunch of inner city children?  Sounds like I should raise my kids to follow the lifestyle that doesn’t “conform to white standards,” and to vote for radical socialists who will tax people like you more and more to feed them, to feed the kids they have out-of-wedlock, to pay for their day-care, to pay for their healthcare, etc..

Posted on 05/29/2010 at 4:12 AM

Matt Meltzer says:

The Porn people never really cause any problems. Same with WMC folks. Yeah, they do some drugs but theres not any violence or harassment. Spring Break, again, does have some issues with noise and litter, but not violence and harassment.

Carlos, I didn’t say White standards. I mean civil standards. If you want to equate civil to white, well, then that’s actually kinda racist in and of itself. Like the old expression “MIghty White of You.” I think we’ve moved past that.

Russ, great take. But some in the black community, like Bill Cosby for instance, DO speak out against it. The problem is people like him are in the minority, and often get labeled as a “sellout” for telling Black America to get its shit together. Maybe once Obama isn’t president anymore, he can do the same thing.

Posted on 05/29/2010 at 2:47 PM

Juli says:

somebody please make it stop. i live on drexel and there is no escape from the noise. i was up until at least 5 am this morning. i understand now why people said to leave town - there’s no peace from the bass rattling everything in your house. on any normal day - washington is in need of a good bath- but today….  Walking through even the residential areas all you see is trash. napkins, plastic cups, a large chunk of a smashed windshield.  can’t they take a shit on some other town?  We are glad that this festival can bring in revenue -and just before slow season, but what kind of name is it putting out there for us -to all travelers? It’s like the city is whoring itself out for anything it can get. (and from a waitresses’ standpoint….. come on now… i’m not even going to start)

Posted on 05/30/2010 at 6:57 PM

John Doe says:

STOP PAYING WELFARE AND MEDICAID and their numbers will decrease in a few years!

Posted on 05/31/2010 at 5:22 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Wow. Well, thank you John Doe for demonstrating what REAL racism is, and this taking the hear off me.

Juli- as a waitress did you have a lot of walkouts this weekend? And how were your tips comparably to times that are usually that busy.

Posted on 05/31/2010 at 11:05 PM

Sir Gnarls Barkley says:

I don’t get the part about lack of tips.  Every time I’m in Miami there’s automatic gratuity added to almost everything. If we’re talking about the restaurants on Ocean, it’s even more predominant.  In what restaurants in South Beach do waitresses work where there is not an automatic 18% added for tip?

Posted on 06/01/2010 at 11:55 AM

M Roman says:

I agree with Bill, you don’t see any crowds on Lincoln or Alton.  It’s not all of South Beach.It all pretty much happens from Washington heading West. Friday night I was one of four white gay guys walking up Washington.  No one messed with us and although it was all crazy with crowds and noise, I saw nothing that night that I haven’t seen living in big cities like NY or Chicago.  The real issue for me is selfish.  Not being able to park in my own neighborhood on such a weekend and having to wait hours to get back on the island if I go anywhere.  So if I know I am going out any evening I just reposition myself to north beach for three days.  And as a former waiter, no not every place has auto grat.  I will say though that I have worked in a luxury hotel on the beach since 2003 and coincidence or not, this past weekend is the time we see the highest incident of credit card and identity fraud, the most difficult guests, and the highest security.  There are two things at play in my opinion:  the behaviors that reinforce the negative stereotypes of Hip Hop and conversely the mentality of “Ok, you expect this of me, let me give it to you.”  But to be equally fair I hated living in Fenway Park in Boston during any Red Sox game or working summers in tourist infected New England.  All the things about noise, litter, harassing women, drunk disorderly behavior and gay bashing was just as bad and they were predominantly white sports fans.  Same goes when I lived in little Havana during Calle Ocho festival.  Face it, black, white or Hispanic - no skin color, race or culture is unique when it comes to debauched mass group behavior.  Universally, a lot people just don’t care about anything except their own good time, morally reprehensible or not.

Posted on 06/01/2010 at 7:02 PM

Bill says:

Here’s a look back at past Memorial Day weekends:

2006 was the grand daddy of them all!

Posted on 06/01/2010 at 7:08 PM

RV says:

Great blog. Spot on. My first night living in South Beach was Memorial Day. I walked around for several hours and saw some of the most immoral, improper behavior in my life. Gave me a bad taste in my mouth about South Beach. Hopefully things get better. Alot better. Hip Hop culture is ruining this country.

Posted on 06/02/2010 at 6:09 PM

Christian says:

Being “true to their blackness” is being a ghetto thug?

I have higher faith in black people than you.

Posted on 06/03/2010 at 7:54 AM

Under the Sun says:

Sounds like some of you think you live in Mayberry and not on SoBe. Incredible.

On another note, wish the bretheren would revive America Beach and some of their history on Amelia Island. It was the only black resort in the country at one time. Today it’s in shambles and still with potential.

Posted on 06/03/2010 at 1:24 PM

Been Here 10 Yrs says:

I went to Optical Shop of Aspen on Lincoln Rd Friday during Memorial Day Weekend.  I notice most of his inventory was put away. I asked why his cases and shelves were empty.  He stated that he last more product that weekend than he sold.  Then on the way home I stopped by one of my favorite places to each only to find out they were closed that weekend.  Apparently most of the nicer places shut there doors for the weekend. So really how much money is this weekend bringing in. Sounds like a big inconvenience to everyone.

Posted on 06/21/2010 at 9:01 AM

Bluecollar says:

If you can listen past his repetitiveness, this man strongly speaks out:

Posted on 06/21/2010 at 8:33 PM

Allyn Alford says:

“You don’t see Colts fans hollering obscenities at female Saints fans who walk by” Your so wrong with a lot of your points.. I had friends here are female whom were heckled out of a restaurant that was filled with saints fans for wearing Colts jerseys.

Posted on 04/07/2011 at 4:46 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Allyn, you JUST made my point for me. Thsoe were SAINTS fans yelling at a COLTS fan. Note, I didn’t say “You don’t see SAINTS fans doing that.” I know what I’m talking about…

Posted on 04/07/2011 at 9:46 PM

Vanessa Saint-Louis says:

I understand the point you are trying to prove, Matt. But I feel that you may have bit your tongue in how you were attempting to deliver your point across. Your underlying subconscious or conscious stereotypes against blacks blatantly shine through. You drop subtle racial stereotypes that were irrelevant like:

1)  “What usually follows is a weekend with lots of arrests, lots of girls being harassed on the street, and lots of SUVs with rims that cost more than the driver’s house”

“and didn’t clog our streets “cruising” in rented Escalades, maybe we wouldn’t have a problem.”

- Stating that blacks have SUV’s and Rims that cost more than the driver’s house or that their rented is completely irrelevant to the article and vibrantly stereotypical.

2) “You see, if the Association of Black Lawyers wanted to have a conference on the Beach, I’m pretty sure nobody would make a point to leave town. If the National Association of Black Accountants…”

- Again, you classify only professional black people as ones that are tolerable.

3)  Genreralizing with BLACK PEOPLE

You continue to drop the words “black people” which reinforces your generalization. As a writer, I would assume you could be a bit more clever and use other detailed and relevant words/terms as “Hip Hop Community” or even better yet “RAP” community because there is a difference between HIP HOP and RAP but that’s another monster in which if you are not educated about, I would not be dropping those words loosely.

I could go on and on with this article. I respect your opinion Matt, but you just told on your self… Just a little ..

M Roman was on point with his argument as well.. I digress..

Posted on 05/26/2011 at 12:41 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Vanessa,well stated point, but I never claimed to not stereotype. Hell, I never claimed to not be a little racist. Since, really, most people are.

Point is, walk around MDW and you DO see a lot of hideous rims and rented escalades, as well as all the other things I described.

Posted on 05/27/2011 at 1:45 PM

smith says:

poor poor fools afraid of being labelled RACIST. Racism is the highest religion, it is self love, and love of your creator, Racism is the most natural desire for any human to feel and to express….so what does that say about the “anti-racists” , it says they are as far removed from their humanity as you can get, they are anti-human, they deny truth and love…. they are despicable.

Posted on 05/30/2011 at 1:52 PM

Luciano Araya says:

Stop trying to be cute. You avoid it because your racist and that is the truth. This country has come to far in to short a time to turn back the clock. You think you are enlighten but your no better then someone with a sheet on his head..

Posted on 05/30/2011 at 7:55 PM

Jason says:

I must say, this article is quite well written and to the point! I feel the same way and I have seen so much of the craziness and so on. You should write for the NYT!

Posted on 05/30/2011 at 8:56 PM

Gavin says:

This article has nothing to do with racisim. People label that because the majority of the people are black. This is about behavior, there were two shootings last night and several people injured and dead. This is the ONLY time during the year people get hurt. When was the last time someone got shot at Art Basel, WMC or any other event on the beach? Its trashy and ghetto, I wish they could ban it.

Posted on 05/31/2011 at 9:06 AM

Matt Meltzer says:

Gavin, I’m with you on your thoughts here. but this year WMC actually had a TON of violence, and there are other times during the year where this stuff happens. It’s just real concentrated around MDW.

Posted on 05/31/2011 at 2:48 PM

Mike says:

My wife and I were thinking about going to south beach for Labor Day weedend. Is this weekend anything other than a busy weekend? I would hate to go down there and run into something like this. I want to go down there this week because of the holiday. I can go down another weekend but I like to bikini watch also, and I know there will be some bikinis that weekend. I don’t want to be amongst a bunch of White porn stars or Black hip hoppers. We are a white couple I live an hour from the New Orleans french quarter, mixed crowds not a problem. I wouldn’t want to go there for essence fest either. Ya know what I mean.

Posted on 08/07/2011 at 3:11 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Thank you, Mike, for your candid honesty. Refreshing around here…

I’ll be honest….EVERY holiday weekend is starting to look more and more like Memorial Day. Like, none are nearly as bad, but the Beach seems to be getting darker and darker every time a 3-day weekend rolls around. I’d suggest coming another time to be honest.

Posted on 08/09/2011 at 6:04 PM

jullie smith says:

nice post

Posted on 08/04/2015 at 2:29 AM

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