In the run-up to the 2020 Championship game of the National Football League (“NFL”) between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, popularly known as the Super Bowl, the City of Miami was certainly abuzz with fervent excitement and fan fare. And for good reason, as there was a slew of events and festivities for both locals and tourists from out of town to indulge in. Among them was the two-day and night Viewtopia music festival, which took place on January 31st and February 1st.
Headlining Friday night’s show were the likes of the super talented American R&B singer, Chris Brown, as well as the energetic DJ Khaled—who had also brought his usual energy to Jamaica last March for Buju Banton’s epic ‘Long Walk to Freedom Tour’ concert held at the National Stadium in Kingston. On Saturday night, Vewtopia was headlined by Cardi B, and American rappers, Migos (the group) and DaBaby. Initially, Vewtopia was slated to take place at the Miami Marlins Stadium (where the baseball team plays), but then it was decided to relocate the happenings to a venue Miami Gardens—which was adjacent to the Hard Rock Stadium that was the site of the Super Bowl the following day. In so doing, Vewtopia then combined with ‘SuperFest Miami LIVE’ at the same venue. Dubbed ‘The Big Stage for Football’s Biggest Game of the Year!’, the SuperFest experience afforded an A-list concert, art exhibits, on-site chef prepared culinary offerings, interactive games, kid zones, virtual game experiences, and VIP events. The lead VIP event, put on by ‘Equal Justice Now’, was hosted by Benjamin Crump. As many may recall, Mr. Crump is the famed attorney who came to the forefront and represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and Tamir Rice in high profile cases of being killed at the hands of police in the states of Florida, Missouri, and Ohio. Against this background of his admirable fight against perceived police injustice against black men in America in recent years, Mr. Crump’s photo-ops session was a sight to behold as waves of party goers lined up to take a picture with him during his VIP event as part of ‘SuperFest Miami LIVE’ .
Of course, the A-list concert as part of the overall entertainment complex package was Vewtopia—which not only featured top-tier Jamaican artists, but there were also several notable Jamaican reggae and dancehall industry celebs on the scene to show support for their musical contemporaries. Listed on the bill for the reggae and dancehall component of Vewtopia were: Koffee, Shenseea, Tosh Alexander, Squash, and the ever colorful Safaree–who just this month released his album. On the scene as well were selector Tony Matterhorn, selector Jazzy T (of Renaissance Disco), Romeich (of Romeich Entertainment), and dancehall artist Zeke Don.
Tosh Alexander led off, and her performance surely set the standard in that her outfit was full of pure dancehall vibes. In that spirit, her unleashing of ‘Bubble’ and ‘Ready Fi Dem’ was action packed with Jazzy T serving as the hype man and her dancers showing off their creative gyrating dance moves. Tosh also showed off her tremendous vocal talents by delivering her rendition of Aaliyah, the late R&B singer’s romantic smash hit ‘At Your Best’.
Shenseea was then called to the stage, and she was quite interactive with the crowd–which sang along with several of her hits, including ‘Blessed’ and ‘Trending Gyal’. Often going by her moniker, ‘Shenyeng’, Shenseea certainly has proved her mettle in recent years as being a highly acclaimed dancehall artist. In fact, in 2019 ‘Shenyeng’ was the top streaming artist for the year with over 230 million streams in total.
Fresh off of her 2020 historic Grammy win, Koffee wrapped up the Vewtopia’s Jamaican musical segment in grand style. Koffee‘s recent Grammy win was historic in that she is the first female ever to take home music’s most coveted trophy for ‘Best Reggae Album’. On stage at Vewtopia, Koffee fittingly strutted her stuff while singing her hit ‘Rapture’–which is also the title of her Grammy winning album. Not surprisingly, the massive audience was tipped into a raucous frenzy with water bottles being flung high in the sky when Koffee closed her set with the infectious ‘Toast’…”We nuh rise and boast…gratitude is a must!”
Photos by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.