Philadelphia just basically told Jay-Z, “Thanks for nothing.” Reportedly, the Made In America festival is getting booted from the City of Brotherly Love.
On Tuesday, (July 17), Billy Penn reported that this year’s MIA festival would be the last on Ben Franklin Parkway, it’s usual spot in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Also worth noting is that the festival has lost its biggest sponsor, Budweiser (an Anheuser-Busch brand). Reportedly, Budweiser backed out of MIA to focus on country music, because country music fans buy more beer.
Philadelphia officials were concerned losing Budweiser meant Roc Nation wouldn’t be able to cover production costs. Roc Nation maintained this was not the case thanks to sponsorships from Puma, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Airlines and more.
However, on Tuesday, a rep from the Mayor’s Office of Philadelphia said, “This is the last year MIA will be held on the Parkway.”
While that doesn’t seem to mean the festival couldn’t be held somewhere else in Philly, Hova took it as an eviction notice. Especially he found out about it at the same time everyone else did. The rapper/mogul and MIA’s curator penned an open letter to Philly.com expressing his disappointment in the moves of the Philly Mayor’s Office.
“We are disappointed that the Mayor … would evict us from the heart of the city, through a media outlet, without a sit-down meeting, notice, dialogue or proper communication,” wrote Jay-Z. “It signifies zero appreciation for what Made In America has built alongside the phenomenal citizens of this city.”
Hova then revealed that the mayor even tried to dead 2018’s festival.
“In fact, this administration immediately greeted us with a legal letter trying to stop the 2018 event.”
Made In America launched in 2012 but under the administration of Mayor Michael Nutter, who enthusiastically welcomed the new event to the city. Mayor Jim Kenney took office in 2016.
In Hova’s op-ed, he asserted that MIA brought $102.8 million in “economic impact” to Philly, employed thousands and paid a rent bill totaling $3.4 million.
Of course, speculation that Meek Mill’s now infamous legal issues played a role in the Mayor’s Office’s decision.
Whatever the rationale, Hova let his disappointment be known. He added, “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?”
A few hours later, the mayor responded—and it seems like he’s moonwalking.
“The City of Philadelphia supports the Made in America festival and is greatly appreciative of all that it has done for Philadelphia,” said a statement shared by Variety. “We are committed to its continued success and thank them for their partnership. We hope to be able to resolve what has been an unfortunate misunderstanding. We are working with Roc Nation and Live Nation to resolve this issue and we are committed to continuing our partnership with the Made in America festival.”
Sounds like Philadelphia (government) was cool with making money off Hip-Hop, but now that their tourism has grown, they saw no problem with discarding the “minority-owned” entity.