With about a month-and-a-half until the annual Made In America festival takes place (Sept. 1-2), Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney reportedly put a halt to its familiar location on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for 2019, according to an open letter penned by JAY-Z for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“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,” he wrote. “It signifies zero appreciation for what Made In America has built alongside the phenomenal citizens of this city.”
The TIDAL leader shared that the annual festival significantly contributes to Philly’s tourism bracket. He also questioned if Kenney’s decision positively reflects the City of Brotherly Love’s relationship with businesses “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?”
Since its birth in 2012, Made In America has partnered with United Way of Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey to encourage social activism. According to the Everything Is Love artist, the festival has donated $2.9 million to the organization.
This year’s lineup includes Nicki Minaj, Miguel, Ty Dolla $ign, Meek Mill, Janelle Monae, Amara La Negra and more.
The new location has yet to be announced.
Live Nation has issued a statement, backing JAY-Z’s open letter:
Live Nation wholeheartedly supports Jay-Z and Roc Nation’s bid to keep the Made In America Festival at its home on the Ben Franklin Parkway.
We have yet to hear a compelling or plausible explanation for why the festival cannot return to the site where it has successfully been housed for six years and generated $102.8M in positive economic impact to the city.
From Billie Holiday to Will Smith, Patti LaBelle, Jill Scott, The Roots and countless others, urban music is an indelible part of Philadelphia’s culture and history. By handicapping Made In America’s ability to bring the best show possible to the best site possible, this administration makes a statement about how it values the arts and plans to protect and expand the city’s vibrant musical heritage.