where's the beef?

Jay-Z Is Beefing With the Mayor of Philadelphia Over His Made in America Festival

Jay-Z. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for NARAS

While there’s a potential beef brewing between Beyoncé and the city of Rome, there’s one already roaring between her husband and the city of Philadelphia. Jay-Z has published an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer accusing the city’s mayor, Jim Kenney, of attempting to shut down Jay’s annual Made in America Festival. Jay claims that Kenney banned next year’s festival from its usual location of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway without notice, and tried to get this year’s festival canceled.

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. In fact, this administration immediately greeted us with a legal letter trying to stop the 2018 event.

The letter goes on to slam the mayor for his failure to support a minority-owned business that financially benefits the city. Jay ends by saying he and his team “will discuss our options internally and handle accordingly,” meaning his festival could soon be on the market for a new city. Hey, Hov, your hometown is available!

Update, July 18, at 8:10 p.m.: Mayor Kenney’s office has issued the following statement in response to the op-ed: “The City of Philadelphia supports the Made in America festival and is greatly appreciative of all that it has done for Philadelphia. 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.”

Update, July 19, at 6:16 p.m.: Live Nation has issued a statement in support of Jay-Z.

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. 

Jay-Z Is Beefing With the Mayor of Philadelphia