As the American Black Film Festival celebrates its 27th anniversary, Miami Beach is the prime destination that hosted this year’s event. The Greater Miami Convention and Visitor Bureau (GMCVB) created an initiative to attract travelers to conventions and events in their city.
The warm, sunny and engaging nightlife of Miami is already attractive to many travelers; however, GMCVB is connecting the dots for organizations (like the American Black Film Festival, which highlights Black cinema and entertainment) to host their event in Miami to bring more attendees out each year to visit the city.
This year, our publication Black Girl Nerds had the opportunity to explore what GMCVB had to offer visitors. This was actually my first time in Miami, so as you can imagine I was pretty geeked about the experience. The hosting hotel was the Kimpton Surfcomber located in South Beach just a couple blocks away from the Miami Convention Center. This is the perfect hotel to check out if you plan to attend any convention events in Miami.
ABFF was a work trip for me, as I was covering a number of press red carpets and one-on-one interviews as well as screenings during the festival. However, during my downtime, I did manage to take some time to go to the beach, which is located directly behind the hotel. That’s right, the beach is your backyard! As you walk through the lobby of the hotel to exit to the back to get to the beach, you will pass their pool area, which is pretty nice. At check-in you are handed a white wristband that gives you exclusive access to the pool area as a guest.
Checking into my room, I was greeted with a bottle of champagne and a plate of exotic fruit, which was an incredible start to my work week at ABFF. Kimpton Surfcomber also offers complimentary coffee in the morning until 10 o’clock each day. They also have a daily social hour where they serve red and white wine from 5 to 6 p.m. There’s friendly staff to serve you and socialize with you while you sip. And I know this may be an odd thing to add here, but throughout the day, the lobby has iced cold water infused with citrus fruit, which I highly appreciated. The Miami heat in June was no joke, so coming inside to find a cool, refreshing drink of water was exactly what I needed.
But what about the food? I ordered the salmon limon with a glass of prosecco, and it was divine. Compliments to the chef on this meal. It was pretty tasty I must say!
I also had the opportunity to speak with Connie Kinnard, Senior Vice President of Multicultural Tourism and Development for the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor Bureau. This was during the Community Day at ABFF that synergized the locals of Miami with the festival. Featured at this event was none other than multi-hyphenate Issa Rae and filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry. Kinnard says, “It’s important to show during this time that Black groups are still meeting and that we’re supporting our communities.”
ABFF Ventures recently rebranded themselves as Nice Crowd, with plans to expand their event to other cities including a comedy festival in Washington D.C. Kinnard says she fully supports Nice Crowd. “I support it all the way. We definitely want to keep the festival in Miami and anything else Nice Crowd wants to bring to our destination. The reality is, it’s a wonderful organization and I am so excited for their growth. We will be a part of it in any way we can.”
We’re also here for the growth of Nice Crowd (formerly known as ABFF Ventures), the American Black Film Festival, and the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor Bureau for what they are doing for culture and community. If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out ABFF, it’s a festival that’s worth your time. You will meet some amazing people along the way.
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Jamie Broadnax is the creator of the online publication and multimedia space for Black women called Black Girl Nerds. Jamie has appeared on MSNBC's The Melissa Harris-Perry Show and The Grio's Top 100. Her Twitter personality has been recognized by Shonda Rhimes as one of her favorites to follow. She is a member of the Critics Choice Association and executive producer of the Black Girl Nerds Podcast.