Skip to comments.'Ghetto Talent Show,' Watermelon Eating Contest Outrages Community
Posted on 07/26/2005 2:20:54 PM PDT by Imani
Miami city leaders are apologizing for a news release that invited summer campers to a ''Ghetto Style Talent Show'' and ''Watermelon Eating Contest.''
The release said that children participating in the summer camp who "know the meaning of ghetto style" would have a chance to "prove just how ghetto they are.''
Members of the black community expressed outrage at the wording of the invitation to the talent show. The show will be part of the grand finale picnic for the city's summer camp program to be held Friday at Hadley Park.
After being criticized by residents of the nearby Model City neighborhood and community leaders, Miami Parks Director Ernest Burkeen, who is black, released a formal apology and announced the renaming of the talent show.
The show will now be called the "Funky Talent Show," according to Burkeen's written statement. The watermelon contest will still be part of the event.
Even though the name has been changed, Burkeen did still continue to defend the choice of the name for the show.
"The word 'ghetto' was used to imply a down home show, not something offensive, but embracing the culture of today's youth and their language," he said.
Church and community leaders said that changing the name isn't enough -- the damage has already been done.
"It's almost equivalent to saying, 'We're having bananas at Jose Marti Park' and referring to Miami as a 'Banana Republic,'" the Rev. Richard Dunn said.
Other critics said that the watermelon eating contest is a painful reminder of racially insensitive stereotypes.
"Watermelon, back in the days, was a good food for African Americans, according to the Bible, but at the same time, it had an attachment with slavery and bondage ties," the Rev. Carl Johnson said.
Some members of the community had a different perspective and said that critics were missing the point.
Michael Hardaway said, "They have to understand that the young generation has a whole different style than they do At a ghetto-style talent show the kids are getting together to show their talent."
Other community activists said changing the name of the contest is just the start of what needs to happen.
Dunn suggested that instead of buying hundreds of watermelons for the contest, the money could be spent on school supplies and backpacks for kids who need them.
Andre Williams said, "No more watermelons --- and as Reverend Dunn says, we need to give books and school supplies to our children."
City officials said Tuesday that the contest is popular and it will not be canceled. The picnic will go on Friday as planned and will include up to 3,000 children from across the city.
"After being criticized by residents of the nearby Model City neighborhood and community leaders, Miami Parks Director Ernest Burkeen, who is black, released a formal apology and announced the renaming of the talent show."
Why does ghetto necessarily mean black? I know plenty of white people who live in ghettos.
Hey, spittin' watermelon seeds is NOT ethnic!!!!
I'd like to know where the Bible says that watermelon is good food for Africans!
Don't they know the only group it is ok to make fun of is southern whites?
Whatchu talking about?? It's Dutch.
specially since the word came from Venice Italy and described a section of town where Jews were required to live.
HUH? What book has the writ of the melon? Must be one of those parables that are hard to decipher.
If he's talking about Numbers 11:5, that's a bit of a stretch.
There's a Redneck Games that takes place every year in East Dublin, GA. Where's the Left's outrage over that?
I must not be reading this right. Watermelon and African Americans in the Bible????
A stupid idea, no matter the race of the planers or participants. Just plain dumb. Was he going to have a pimp and ho dance too, just to be cool to the youth?
Speaking as someone who lived in Miami for three years, I can honestly say that the black ghettos down there are the WORST neighborhoods in the US and that includes South Chicago/Anacostia/Newark, etc.
This reminds me about Dave Chappelle's stand-up as he has a paranoid moment of reflection that perhaps he's genetically predisposed to like chicken. He's a riot!
Why, are you disagreeing with me or just trying to be funny?
Must be one of those new and improved versions that come out all the time.
Of course, to Miami's sizable Jewish community, Ghetto has a whole other connotation.
the translation of the Hebrew abattihim, the LXX. and Vulgate pepones, Arabic britikh . Of this plant there are various kinds, the Egyptian melon, the Cucumus chate, which has been called "the queen of cucumbers;" the water melon, the Cucurbita citrullus; and the common or flesh melon, the Cucumus melo. "A traveler in the East who recollects the intense gratitude which a gift of a slice of melon inspired while journeying over the hot and dry plains, will readily comprehend the regret with which the Hebrews in the Arabian desert looked back upon the melons of Egypt" (Kitto).