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Jay-Z Pens Angry Op-Ed After Philadelphia Mayor Evicts Made in America Festival [UPDATED]

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: JAY-Z performs onstage during the Meadows Music And Arts Festival - Day 1 at Citi Field on September 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

Jay-Z has written an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer, objecting to Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney’s recent decision to remove the rapper’s Made in America music festival from its normal home base on the city’s Ben Franklin Parkway next year. Kenney’s decision to evict the festival, which is being held on September 1 and 2 of this year, was announced through the Philadelphia news website Billy Penn. In his essay, Jay writes: “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.” Jay-Z went on to claim that the mayor had attempted to shut down this year’s installation of Made In America, stating that “this administration immediately greeted us with a legal letter trying to stop the 2018 event.”

Billy Penn reports that Kenney’s decision was based on the fact that improved tourism in the city no longer made the festival a priority for the city, especially considering the high costs the city shouldered during and in preparation for the annual festival. Countering this, Jay-Z argues that “since 2012, Made in America, one of the only minority-owned festivals, has had a positive $102.8 million economic impact to Philadelphia, and…paid $3.4 million in rent to the city. [The festival] employs more than 1,000 Philadelphians each day and 85 percent of our partners are Philadelphia-based companies.”

According to Billy Penn‘s report, the city is willing to discuss alternative locations for 2019. A rep of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation also told the publication that RN was determined to find a new home for the festival in the city. This year’s Made in America lineup features Nicki Minaj, Meek Mill, Post Malone, Diplo, and Miguel, among others.

UPDATE (7/19/18, 10:40 am):  As Variety reports, the office of Mayor Jim Kenney has responded to Jay-Z’s op-ed with a statement:

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.