There’s nothing like starting a week in the city with a Monday morning press conference featuring Jay-Z and Mayor Nutter announcing a two day concert in the city of Philadelphia at the end of the summer season.
Made In America, one of my favorite songs from the Watch the Throne album, is the name of the two day festival happening on September 1-2 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Artand is co-sponsored by Anheuser Busch, United Way, and Jay-Z.
From left to right: Jill Michal, Paul Chibe, Mayor Michael Nutter, Jay-Z, and some other guy – LOL.
Mayor Nutter, Jill Michal, President and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Paul Chibe, Vice President of Marketing at Anheuser Buschwere the first three speakers. They spoke quickly as the crowd made them aware with boos that the only person they wanted to hear was Jay. Mayor Nutter reiterated the logistics of the concert. Ms. Michal mentioned how excited United Way is to be a co-sponsor of the event as the overarching theme of being Made in America is synergy, partnership, and most of all resilience. Mr. Chibe discussed that the cornerstone of Anheuser Busch is their longstanding partnership with United Way and music as evidenced by their work with the Rolling Stones and supporting the former Budweiser Superfest. Mr. Chibe proclaimed that there is no better person that defines being Made in America than Jay-Z as he is an “entrepreneur, artist, businessman and great guy”.
Following that introduction the crowd went wild. Jay-Z took the mic and discussed the four touch points that help him decide whether to accept a project.
1. Is the project great? He knows that once this project starts it will end up in a great place.
2. Will the project push the culture forward? Jay believes that the Made in America concert will do just that, and he knows that working with Anheuser Busch will help push the culture further.
3. The project has to be a philanthropic opportunity for him. Jay-Z mentioned that he can achieve this task by working with United Way who recently helped him raise money for charity during his Carnegie Hall concert.
4. He must make his mother proud so he cannot do “half-baked” work and will put his all into this concert. With that, Jay announced that he has confirmed 70% of the artists set to perform in September.
Jay-Z made sure to touch on his love affair with Philly thanks to his Philly bred signed artists, stage left – Freeway!
Jay also mentioned quickly that he will start some film work with Will and Jada Smith.
After his spiel, as he called it, the crowd started screaming Hova! Hova! Hova! as he descended to the public gates to smack hands with the people who came out to see him. I was almost run over with people running to one side of the gate, but I held my ground and stood in place knowing that he was sure to walk in my direction and that would be my chance to meet him; and he did. It was intense to be so close to someone that I have admired since I was a teenager. My heart was pounding so fast to be that close to him. He shook my hand and I asked how he was loving his new daughter. He responded that she is great. He signed a few autographs and thanked people for coming out. Through all the rushing photographers and fans, Jay-Z remained a composed gentleman. And for the ladies I can say, he has wonderfully soft hands 😉
Funniest parts of the day was when a fan exclaimed, “You’re great Hov” and his reply mid-sentence was “I agree.”
While waiting around chatting with security, Jay-Z returned to the concourse to sit and participate in interviews with local media. I was told that he would be there until 2 PM, it was then 11 AM. He looked happy to be there and nothing seemed rushed. Despite the on and off drizzle, Jay-Z sat in a chair patiently.
I had a wonderful time today and believe now that starting my week like this, I am sure the rest of my week will be terrific.
FYI – Tickets for the Made in America festival will go on sale Wednesday, May 23. I hope to get mine.