Miami Gardens, Florida – Xavier Murphy, the founder of the premier Jamaican online platform Jamaicans.com, was honored by the City of Miami Gardens in Florida, at the Reggae Summer Splash event on August 7, 2021, which marked the 59th anniversary of Jamaican independence. Murphy was honored with the Cultural Icon Outstanding Jamaican American Award for his contributions to the community provided through Jamaicans.com. Commenting on his award, Murphy said, “This honor is very special to me as when I migrated to the USA, I settled in Miami Gardens. It is quite humbling to be recognized in the city where it all started.”
In 2020, Murphy and his popular website were recognized by the City of Lauderhill, which is home to one of the largest Caribbean Diaspora populations in the United States. He received an official letter of recognition from City Commissioner Denise D. Grant for his service to the Diaspora during the COVID-19 pandemic. “During this pandemic, you have demonstrated great courage and fortitude. Your journalism advances the vision of helping residents engage in their communities. Your contribution to society in the midst of an uncertain and lamented time is worthy of recognition,” she said.
Also recognized for their contributions at the Miami Gardens Reggae Summer Splash event were Hortense McGillvery, Basil Cole, Dr. Lavern Deer, Terriann McKenzie, Anthony Amos, Dale Holeness, Suzan McDowell, Tanto Irie, Ian Hamilton, John T, Pat Montague, Enrique Rick Crooks, Pastor Donald Clark Jr., Dr. Thelma Cole, and Rod Stokes.
City councilwoman Shannan “Lady” Ighodaro, who hosted the inaugural celebration at the Bunche Park & Pool Recreational Complex, noted that the city’s strength stems from its rich cultural diversity. The recognition of the contributions made by individuals of Jamaican ancestry to the community was a highlight of the event. “Jamaican-Americans have been a staple in our city and people of Jamaican descent continue to serve our community as first line workers, teachers, nurses, police officers, faith leaders, neighborhood and crime watch volunteers and we need to let them know we appreciate all of their contributions,” she said.
The event in Miami Gardens, which featured live performances by Mykal Rose and Red Rat and displays of Jamaican arts and artifacts, culinary treats, and a “taste of Jamaica, ” was part of the Miami Reggae Festival, which celebrated Jamaica’s independence anniversary with a weekend of sound system culture and a charitable focus on family-friendly art, music, and food offerings. The 2021 festival, which was held on August 7 and 8, was the seventh staged by organizers Rockers Movement. It was organized to unite the communities of Miami through dub, roots, reggae, and rock music and to help them address the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival has received accolades for years from the mayors and commissioners of Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami, Miami Beach, and Miami Gardens, for its efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty in the local community.