For six hours on a Super Bowl Friday (Jan. 31), adults indulged their inner children and the worries of the world melted like cotton candy. It was all thanks to the magic and mayhem of Shaq’s Fun House, which transported Miami to a more innocent and fun-loving place. Pitbull, Diddy, DaBaby, Diplo, Tiësto, and Carnage were there, plus costumed characters, touching tributes to Kobe Bryant, high-end food and beverage vendors, thrilling carnival attractions and a few more musical guests.
Even a severe thunder storm warning couldn’t stop this beat. Here are our favorite moments from Shaq’s Fun House at Mana Wynwood.
Everyone Stayed Dry, And No One Was Thirsty
Oh, the weather outside was frightful, but the threat of hail was distant inside the 40,000-square-foot sound studio where Shaq’s Fun House made it’s home. Just after walking in, attendees were greeted by a swinging jazz band and the vibrant lights of the carnival midway. One could ride on a carrousel, try their luck at a water pistol car race or impress at the strong man high striker. Smiling winners walked around with giant furry animal prizes after tossing a football through a tire, but even those who couldn’t hit the target were treated to complimentary high-end snacks from Coyo Taco, STK Steak House, Papa John’s, Knaus Berry Farms and more. The drinks were also included in the $200 – $400 ticket price. The Maker’s Mark saloon impressed with a poker table while the Courvoisier cabaret featured sensual shadow dancers.
They Tried To Find Homes For Some Good Boys
In the midst off all the fun was a chance to do some good. A grassy circle of green became a makeshift home for a few happy doggies, all of whom were looking for a forever home. Well-behaved partiers were able to get up-close and cuddly with the furry gang, learning about each one’s background and habits in case they might be the parents the pooch was looking for. It was heartwarming and adorable, and we sure hope some of those lovable creatures made a lasting connection.
Pitbull Put On For His City
All the musical acts brought the house down, but one man has been in the building longer than others. Mr. 305 turned Mr. Worldwide regaled the crowd with tales of his come-up, a story that mirrors Miami’s own.
“I used to live in Wynwood when they didn’t sell art,” he said. “They sold coke, crack and heroin, so to be able to perform with Shaquille O’Neal, and everybody that’s on the stage tonight — whether that’s Diddy, Tiësto, DaBaby — I used to stay right up the block when nobody mother-f–king believed in me, so to be on this stage is definitely an honor. From 28th street and N. Miami Ave to be right here, it’s a beautiful thing.”
He took a little time to shout out every neighborhood in the city, from Hialeah to Little Haiti, Carol City and others. More than anything, he made sure to make all the out-of-towners feel welcome. “And whatever happens in Miami, never happened,” he promised.
Kobe Was Never Far Away
Pitbull ended his set with a big shout out to the late, great Kobe Bryant, reminding everyone to make room for love in their life and stop focusing on the hate that divides. Immediately after his set, Shaq opened his set with a moving video homage, while Diddy soon after led the crowd in chants of Kobe’s name, letting roll a video of his own and dedicating “I’ll Be Missing You” to the gone-too-soon basketball legend and his daughter, Gianna.
Diplo made sure to drop a few rap songs with Kobe lyrics, like Kanye West’s verse in Shoolboy Q’s “That Part.” Bryant’s two Lakers jerseys hung from the rafters all night long, and even more appeared on the backs of those in the crowd. The man was celebrated from the time doors opened to the moment the venue closed, and Shaq announced that all the proceeds from the event will be donated to the families of those whose lives were lost in that helicopter crash and to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation.
Shaq Shared His Stage
Because of the raging storm, the outside Swisher Sweets stage was out of commission, but that didn’t mean the rappers set to play it had to lose any limelight. Shaq made room for DaBaby, Tyla Yaweh and others during his raging dubstep set. Each MC performed a couple songs, breaking up the bass music with hip-hop flair. Entourages and camera crews crowded stage left, bringing an atmosphere of cool, and everyone was sure to shout out Shaq as the man of the hour.