South Florida’s favorite radio host Papa Keith made a big decision a few months ago. He put his mouth where his time is and used music and his resources to bring fun and a sense of peace to Liberty City. Papa Keith’s People Matter Fest brings art, music and a day of pure fun to a neighborhood that needs to indulge in a good time. Liberty has been in the news a lot lately, often for crime and homicide. However, an Oscar win by Barry Jenkins and Tarrel McCraney for the film Moonlight has opened new possibilities for untapped talent. Papa Keith, known for one of the most popular radio shows in South Florida on 103.5 the Beat, believes that music and family fun can bring peace and normalcy in an area that is bursting with potential. I had a chat with him about the People Matter Fest and his plans for the future.
Melissa Hunter Davis(MHD): What touched you personally that made this event so crucial for you?
Papa Keith (PK): At first, the fest was created for residents in Liberty City to enjoy a Saturday of music, family filled activities, great food, and positive energy celebrating life. But, after being faced with some stumbling blocks and obstacles along the way to the event, I realized this fest is crucial to prove doubter wrong about their ideologies about this Miami gem that some feel like only produces negative things. This fest is strictly for the people and to celebrate how important they are!
MHD: This event is quite large. What do you want to offer the community through this event?
PK: The ultimate goal behind this event is to show people that THEY MATTER in more ways than one. This fest is not for me, it’s for the people in Miami-Dade and Liberty City to come together, have a good time and celebrate life. We plan for a successful event that will prove to everyone that it is possible to have an event of this capacity and it be a non-violent day.
MHD: What are your thoughts about to positively affect change in the community by using music and art ?
PK: I’ve always believed that music heals all and unites many no matter the demographic or geographic. I believe we need to find more ways to engage with our communities through our local artists and incorporating music so we can create an outlet to connect with one another.
MHD: What’s next for your organization?
PK: The fest is a portion from the Papa Keith 4 People Matter (#PK4PM) initiative that I currently promote through my radio show on 103.5 the Beat. It began last election season to engage Millenial Voters and has morphed to showcase entrepreneurs and community members making a difference. I’ll continue to use my platform to inform young people of things they should know and to show them examples of what they can aspire to be. I truly believe that showing young people, especially in inner cities, that they really do matter; they’ll take more Pride in themselves and people around them and stop killing each other through senseless gun violence.