Music History and Talent in Overtown

Photo Credit: Edgy Elacin of Tip of the Edge Photography
Photo Credit: Edgy Elacin of Tip of the Edge Photography

Today with the popularity and influence of hip-hop music, Overtown has hidden talent in music, art and variety entertainment that brings exposure back to their community. Through the rise of technology advances, musicians have found a way to promote themselves through D-I-Y advertisement and bringing their online presence to life. Meet LaRoiya D. Jackson who loves rapping, known for her popularity, and being recognized for her music as “Kocane Blak,” in which started off as a joke by a schoolmate, but used to her benefit and it worked as a stage name. As a 23 year old female rapper and writer of music, she has been inspired by the history and culture of her own community in which she grew up in, alongside listening to Bone Thugs n Harmony and Easy-E’s music. By the fourth grade, she wrote her first rap book and has archived them since 2008 up until now. By the age of 13 she was recording and by 16 she was doing local live performances. Her voice recognition grew popularity when she started recording voice message raps for herself and her friends from school, to the streets, social media and even her hair clients. You can find her videos and music on YouTube, Sound Cloud, Fun For Mobile and other music download sites. Her dream is to work with Lil Wayne, Rhianna and Miley Cyrus and says she’s currently expanding her music into pop and dance so she can give her fans what they want. With the support of her sister, boyfriend, local community plus satisfying herself and as she puts it, “the man above,” she truly believes this is her time and her dreams are unfolding as planned. Being born and raised in Overtown has it perks and one of them is being apart of a musical history and legacy that prepared the path she’s on musically.

The community of Overtown is one of the oldest neighborhoods within the original boundaries of the City of Miami, but customs and laws segregated Overtown. It first began as “Colored Town” at the turn of the 20th century. Residents of Overtown were subject to Black Codes, which became Jim Crow laws that restricted the civil rights of black people in every phase of life throughout the South.

”Overtown was economically isolated, repressed and yet thriving,” says Marvin Dunn, historian and author of Black Miami in the Twentieth Century. “People were forced into a community of self-sufficiency and, to some degree, independence.”

Black entertainers who performed on Miami Beach could not bed or board there because of restricted social and racial segregation laws. However, Overtown became the home of The Lyric Theater, which is located in the district known as “Little Broadway. “ Little Broadway’s reputation for black entertainment and music was recognized through jazz and gospel acts. In the past, Overtown had entertainers like Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and Aretha Franklin that held an audience interest in their community.  Sam Moore of the legendary soul duo Sam and Dave, who hit the charts with Soul Man and Hold On, I’m Comin’, grew up in Overtown, who made it as a local and national talent.

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