PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Jay-Z is firing back after the City of Philadelphia announced that the Made in America festival will no longer be on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway after this year.
The hip-hop artist and festival founder said in a statement that he is “disappointed” in Mayor Jim Kenney over the decision. The two-day Made in America event has been located on the parkway since 2012.
“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,” said Jay-Z, adding that the city allegedly tried to stop this year’s event. “In fact, this administration immediately greeted us with a legal letter trying to stop the 2018 event.”
But in response, Mayor Jim Kenney started with praise.
“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,” said the mayor.
But he cites logistical difficulties on the parkway as one reason why it was decided that the concert must move in 2019, adding that a communication error between the city and the show’s producer, ROC Nation, may have led Jay-Z to feeling blindsided.
“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,” the mayor said.
In his statement, Jay-Z also made the case that the Made In America festival held on the Parkway since its origin in 2012 has had a $102.8 million impact on the city in that time and credits the event for boosting tourism.
“The city is right, in one respect, 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.’ Our question is, ‘How do you think that tourism grew, Mayor Kenney?’” Jay-Z said.
The rapper continued, “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?”
Mayor Kenney says the city is now in touch with the right people over deciding on a location for 2019 and years to come.
“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,” said Kenney.
The city is looking at five prominent locations to possibly hold the Made in America festival next year and for years to come.