The mayor of Philadelphia wants to move the Made in America Festival to a different venue, and founder Jay-Z is not happy about it.
Philly’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway has been the festival’s location since its inception in 2012. Made in America has brought several high-profile acts to the city including Beyoncé and Kanye West. This year’s event will include Nicki Minaj and Post Malone. According to Billy Penn, a city spokesperson said Philly tourism has increased, so “the need for an event of this scale at this location may no longer be necessary.”
Hov isn’t having it and criticized the decision in an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He accused Mayor Jim Kenney of “evict[ing] us from the heart of the city, through a media outlet, without a sit-down meeting, notice, dialogue or proper communication.”
According to the “On to the Next One” rapper, this move shows “zero appreciation” for what Made in America has done for Philly, and he threw out some hefty numbers. He said the festival has brought in $102.8 million in revenue and paid $3.4 million in rent. He also claimed Made in America has donated $2.9 million to local charities.
“By their admission, the festival first started as a ‘unique attraction to the city on an otherwise quiet Labor Day weekend. Over the years, tourism has grown overall.’ Our question is, ‘How do you think that tourism grew, Mayor Kenney?’” the letter reads.
Jay-Z also implied the decision was racially motivated.
“We consider this stance a failure on the mayor’s part. Is this an accurate representation of how he and his administration treat partners that economically benefit his city? Do they regularly reject minority-owned businesses that want to continue to thrive and grow alongside his city’s people?” he opined.
The letter ended with a curt “we will discuss our options internally and handle accordingly.”
Kenney responded to the letter with a dose of brotherly love and confusion.
“First of all, I love Jay-Z. I think he’s extremely talented; he’s very philanthropic. We love the concert, and we want to keep it,” Kenney said.
“There are some operational difficulties on the Parkway because of how long it takes to set up and take down. We were in conversation with people who we thought were communicating that to Roc Nation and Jay-Z. Apparently, they weren’t. We want to keep the concert, and we want to maintain and good relationship with Roc Nation, and we want to work hard to do that.”
CBS Philly reports the city is considering five possible locations for 2019 and beyond.
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