Everything is not love between JAY-Z and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, following the announcement that the Labor Day Made In America festival would be moving from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to an undetermined venue after the 2018 concerts come to a close.
“We consider this stance a failure on the Mayor’s part,” JAY-Z wrote in an open letter in The Philadelphia Inquirer. “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?”
JAY-Z goes on to list the incredible boon the festival is to the city’s economic and tourism statistics. All culminating to his apex point: “We are disappointed that the Mayor of the City of Philadelphia would evict us from the heart of the city, through a media outlet, without a sit-down meeting, notice, dialogue or proper communication. It signifies zero appreciation for what Made In America has built alongside the phenomenal citizens of this city.”
In truth, the location of the Made In America festival was not ideal and created an exceptionally hectic atmosphere for attendees and Philly residents. A change in location, if handled properly, could be much appreciated by performers and attendees alike.
However, JAY-Z’s ultimate point is that the Mayor’s lack of notice and communication grossly undervalued the festival both as an economic and cultural staple. As Jay points out, “In addition to contributing to Philadelphia, since its inception, Made in America has donated $2.9 million to the United Way of Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey,” which is just one in a long list of philanthropic moves facilitated by the festival.
In addition to a new location, the festival is also in need of a new title sponsor, as Budweiser is no longer sponsoring Made In America, opting instead to focus on more country music concerts. Roc Nation has assured fans that Budweiser's pulling out will not be a problem.