Young stars of Oscar-winning “Moonlight” to receive keys to the city of Miami Gardens

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The boys of “Moonlight” will be getting their moment.

Both 13-year-old Alex Hibbert and 12-year-old Jaden Piner are slated to receive keys to the city of Miami at this year’s Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival.

The two students from Norland Middle School in Miami Gardens had starring roles in the Oscar-winning film “Moonlight,” with Alex playing young Chiron and Jaden playing Kevin, Chiron’s best friend.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for us to acknowledge what they’ve done at a young age, and tell them how proud we are of them,” shares Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III.

“Because so often when you hear about young black kids, people don’t want to tell you the stories of these kids and areas that they excel in,” continues Mayor Gilbert. “We aren’t talking about them most times. Most times we’re talking about young black boys in a negative context, so anytime we get an opportunity to tell them how extraordinary they are, we will do it. And ‘Jazz In The Gardens’ is the biggest stage that we can offer in the city.”

The key ceremony will be just one highlight of the highly-anticipated weekend.

As the staple event each year in the city of Miami Gardens, Jazz in the Gardens Music Festival is back for its 12th year and is quickly growing beyond its borders.

Hosted again by veteran comedian Rickey Smiley, the city can expect more than 70,000 music lovers from all over the United States and Caribbean Islands.

The festival will take place this upcoming weekend, March 17-19 at Hard Rock Stadium. With previous lineups that have included Usher, Trey Songz, Kelly Rowland, R. Kelly and more, one can only wonder how this year will top years prior.

“It’s definitely the diversity of the lineup,” says Mayor Gilbert. “There’s people like Herbie Hancock, Marion Meadows, Jill Scott, LL Cool J, and Common and The Roots. It’s literally the music. If you came for nothing else, the music will get you this year.”

“There’s something for everyone here,” he continues. “That can’t be overemphasized. You can go to a concert and hear one of these superstars, but to be able to come for a two-day period and essentially hear people like Jill Scott who are contemporaneous superstars, along with people who have stood the test of time like LL Cool J, next to homegrown legends like Betty Wright who is making her first appearance.”

Along with the two days of concerts, the festival will include the Film, Music, Arts and Culture Conference, which will take place in the two days leading up to the festival. The purpose of the conference is to educate, showcase and celebrate the diversity of art forms and artists in and around South Florida.

For more information on Jazz in the Gardens and to purchase tickets, visit