Messam is the son of Jamaican immigrants and his father was a contract sugar cane cutter, the newspaper reported.
Messam was born in Pahokee and grew up in South Bay, two cities located on the northern fringe of the Florida Everglades near Lake Okeechobee, the newspaper reported.
Messam played wide receiver for Florida State University's football team from 1993 to 1996. He played under legendary coach Bobby Bowden and averaged 12.8 yards per catch while catching four touchdown passes -- three during his senior season. He was a member of the Seminoles' first national championship team as a freshman in 1993. He started 12 games during the 1995 and 1996 seasons and was FSU's 1996 homecoming chief, WPLG reported.
Messam also was elected vice-president of the student body as a senior, the television station reported.
Messam served as 2018 president of the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials.
As Miramar's mayor, Messam advocated a gun-free zone in the city's new amphitheater, challenging a law backed by the National Rifle Association, the Sun-Sentinel reported. He has touted his city as a safe zone for undocumented immigrants and has opposed oil drilling in the Everglades. He also supports action to fight climate change, the newspaper reported.
Messam was one of the earliest South Florida supporters of Andrew Gillum’s failed 2018 gubernatorial campaign and stumped for Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign.
Messam calls his story “the epitome of the American dream.”
"The promise of America belongs to all of us," Messam says in his video. "That's why I'm going to be running for president."