JAY-Z Vs. Mayor Kenney: The Made in America Controversy

Made in America will no longer be held on the parkway after 2018...and JAY-Z is NOT pleased about it.

July 19, 2018

The Made in America Festival has been an annual event in Philadelphia since 2012.  JAY-Z and BEYONCE bring their considerable starpower, plus that of their friends, to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway over Labor Day weekend.  It's a spectacle of great live music, patriotism, and...not to be forgotten...over $100 million in tourism for the city since it's inaugural 2012 concert.

However, things are a-changin'.

It was recently announced that this year's festival will be the last on the Parkway, and will be relocated starting in 2019.

And JAY-Z is NOT happy about it.

Reportedly, it is less the concept of the change that has him irate, but rather the method through which he found out about the mayor's plans...that is, via the media instead of a proper, sit-down meeting between his production company and the city.

Says JAY-Z, "“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.” 

On Mayor Kenney's end, he is adament that he wants the festival to say in the city.  The mayor added that the stress on the Parkway's infrastructure is the main reason Made in America has been moved out of its original location.  He says, "“There are some operational difficulties on the Parkway because of how long it takes to set up and take down...we want to maintain a good relationship with ROC Nation and we're going to work hard to do that."

JAY-Z penned a blistering op-ed when he learned of the mayor's decision, referencing the $102.8 million dollars in tourism raised by the concert.  He writes, “...The first Made In America festival took place when there was a great need for tourism. 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.’"

JAY-Z also holds the mayor's office responsible for what he considers to be unprofessional behavior.  His op-ed states, "“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?"

There's no telling yet how this controversy is going to be settled.  Mayor Kenney is considering other prominent locations in the city for the show, while doing his best to mitigate the PR damage that might have been accrued from JAY-Z's statements.  JAY-Z, on his end, has said the Parkway is vital to the pulse of the festival.

Keep checking back for further developments!