We caught up with Miik Martorell to get all of the details on Pride Fort Lauderdale, his dream DJ gig, crazy memories from The Coliseum and how far Pride has come in the last 40 years.
What’s your claim-to-fame?
President of Pride Fort Lauderdale and DJ (DJ Miik). I’ve been a DJ in South Florida for the past 26 years, as well as a Billboard Magazine reporting DJ for over 15 years. Back in 2014, I got involved more with Pride Fort Lauderdale and in 2016 was elected president of the organization.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Miami and moved to Bayou La Batre Alabama when I was three. I move back to Miami when I was 9 and have been here ever since.
What part of South Florida do you live in now?
I live in Ives estates, which is just about a mile from the Broward line so I’m almost a Broward resident.
What do you like most about living here?
The diversity of our community. I also like that I’m able to be close to my Cuban heritage because we have such a large Cuban community here.
Where do you hang out in South Florida?
Hang out? I think all I do is work. I own a printing company, so I tend to be there pretty much every day of the week including weekends when I’m not DJing or working on Pride.
What South Florida venue do you miss that’s gone?
If you had to live somewhere else other than here, where would you live?
That’s a tough one. You know I’m really not sure.
Which one of your old jobs least prepared you for what you do now?
None of them! Every job I had taught me something that still used to this day.
The craziest thing I remember was actually from the Coliseum. And it wasn’t just once it was almost every week it seemed. The drag queens that performed like Daisy Deadpetals, TP Lord’s and Latrice Royale would go above and beyond every week to put on some of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Watching the Club go wild it’s probably still the most memorable experiences in my career.
What’s your dream DJ gig?
Well actually all of them! I still can’t believe how fortunate I am to still be doing this for so many years. Watching people enjoy themselves and know that I have just a small part in that is a dream come true.
How long have you been the president of Pride Fort Lauderdale?
Of the activism stories that you’ve heard of about Pride, which one was the most moving to you?
Actually, I think I have my own Pride story that makes me emotional. Over the last five years I’ve traveled to and volunteered at 74 prides around the world. While going through these cities one year we filmed interviews with people who went to Pride and the organizers. In Boston we spoke with Linda DeMarco, who is the president of Boston pride and co-president of InterPride. When we asked her about her first experience at Pride, she told us a story about watching the parade in the late 1970s. She said as people came down the street all of a sudden they were putting paper bags on their heads so she turned to the side and asked her friend why. Her friend told her that there were people there with cameras and they were afraid that someone might take a picture and out them at work and they would lose their jobs. It made my heart sink and made me realize just how fortunate we all are to not be living under those conditions. It’s amazing just how far we’ve come!
What’s the greatest challenge of running the organization?
Finding caring and dedicated people whether it be staff or volunteers; securing funding to help keep the organization going; and the most challenging thing at least for an organization like Pride is finding a headliner. Oh my God, I cannot tell you how challenging it is to find a headliner—especially one that the community wants because big name headlining acts will not work for free like everybody thinks. What they want to get paid is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars sometimes over a million. There’s just no way to make that work.
I would personally love to see P!nk. She is just so absolutely amazing and she just exemplifies everything that Pride is about. I’m also a huge fan of Kelly Clarkson, but the truth is we could never afford either of them—so those are just dreams.
Of all the entertainers that have been at Pride, who were you most excited to meet?
Cece Peniston. I remember when I was growing up listening to her music. When I got a chance to meet her and talk to her we kind of bonded. She’s a really amazing singer and great person!
What aspect of Pride is the most fun to you?
Watching this amazing event come to life after a year of planning. That’s the most fun!
Is there anything else that you’d like to say?
That’s a loaded question. Believe me when I start to talk I’ll never stop [laughs].