Jay-Z Claims Philly Mayor Is Sabotaging His "Made In America" Music Festival

Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images.
Jay-Z's got 99 problems, and the Mayor of Philadelphia is for sure one of them. On Thursday, Philly Mayor Jim Kenney announced the city would not allow Jay-Z to host his massive Made In America music festival in Benjamin Franklin Parkway, effective next year, citing past "operational difficulties" as the primary issue, according to the The Inquirer's website, Philly.com.
Kenney reportedly said he and his administration "want to keep" the festival in the City of Brotherly Love and are currently searching "for some other prominent sites in the city where we could do it."
His explanation wasn't enough for Jay-Z, who aired his frustrations with the Mayor in an open letter in The Inquirer.
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"The Made In America festival is a multicultural platform that represents strength, freedom of speech, and perseverance for artists and music lovers," the letter reads. "Philadelphia, an iconic city, represents those ideals. The location is integral to the pulse of the festival. The Parkway is a cultural arts center that is symbolic to the more than 600 artists who have performed at this event. The Parkway captures the freedom and spirit of inclusivity that drew us to the City of Brotherly Love."
The "Family Feud" rapper added that he felt it was a shame the mayor made the decision "without a sit-down meeting, notice, dialogue, or proper communication," especially since the Made In America festival had brought in so much money for the city.
"Since 2012, Made In America, one of the only minority-owned festivals, has had a positive $102.8 million economic impact to Philadelphia, and the festival has paid $3.4 million in rent to the city," he wrote. "Made in America employs more than 1,000 Philadelphians each day and 85 percent of our partners are Philadelphia-based companies."
Additionally, Jay-Z noted that his festival made numerous charitable contributions each year, including a donation of $2.9 million to the United Way of Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.
In a statement sent to Refinery29, event promoter Live Nation said it "wholeheartedly supports Jay-Z and Rock Nation's bid to keep the Made in America Festival at its home on the Ben Franklin Parkway."
"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," Live Nation's statement reads. "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."
This year's Made In America festival will feature acts like Janelle Monáe, Nicki Minaj, Post Malone, Meek Mill, and Zedd.
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