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Alderman pens open letter to Jay-Z to relocate his Made In America festival to Milwaukee

jay-z 4:44

A few days ago, the office of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced in a statement that this was the last year of the Made In America festival at Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. Jay-Z didn't take the news very well.

The news of the festival's eviction reached the ears of Milwaukee Alderman Khalif J. Rainey, who penned an open letter to Desiree Perez, the Chief Operating Officer of Jay-Z's Roc Nation to relocate the festival to Milwaukee. Note: the city of Philadelphia still wants to host the festival, just not at the current location.

In the letter, Rainey highlights Milwaukee's reputation as "a city of festivals" and boasts the recently announced Hip Hop Week MKE. Read the entire letter below.

Dear Ms. Perez,

By way of introduction, my name is Khalif J. Rainey and I serve as alderman in the seventh district within the City of Milwaukee.

I read with great interest the news reports of the City of Philadelphia’s decision to no longer host the Made in America Festival. I and my community have known for years the entrepreneurial spirit and remarkable success of this event and admired particularly the way it built the foundations of this success in the minority community. A city-wide impact of $100 million does not come easily and, representing as I do an area of the city where people of color can struggle to find employment, your hiring of 1,000 people a day is equally impressive. Last year I had the opportunity to attend Made in America for the first time and was struck by its energy as well as the obvious positive effect it was having on the city around it. Also evident was the commitment you have collectively made to local-sourcing your partners as, to my understanding 85% of them are from the Philadelphia area.

To put the matter directly, I believe Milwaukee would be an excellent home for future Made in America Festivals.

Milwaukee has a reputation as a City of Festivals. It’s one we are very proud of and think we have earned by hosting dozens of both large and small events throughout the year. My office has been responsible for adding an exciting new one to the calendar – Hip Hop Week MKE – during the latter part of August. It will highlight Hip Hop not only as music but culture, education, and economic opportunity. It’s been written up in a number of outlets, but a good summary from our local newspaper is here.

Only a week ago, Milwaukee wrapped up its 51st hosting of Summerfest. Certified as the world’s largest music festival, it brought nearly 800,000 guests to our well-developed, 75-acre lakefront site for what is already acknowledged as one of the great international music festivals. I believe you will find that many of the problems that surfaced between your organization and the City of Philadelphia have already been resolved here given our long experience with Summerfest. I am confident that working with other City officials and municipal departments, a welcoming home could be found for your event.

And, if I may, I would particularly welcome the inclusiveness and diversity of entertainment that is the signature of Made in America.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter and should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

This year's Made in America Festival lineup includes Nikki Minaj, TOKiMONSTA, Post Malone, Diplo, Janelle Monae and more.

Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee