Travis Scott performs onstage during Made In America - Day 2 at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

What Must Jay-Z do to Make Made in America 2020 Fly?

Five ways to make MiA dope again… An observation.

Everyone knows that the eighth annual iteration of Jay-Z’s Philadelphia music festival with Live Nation on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway – Made in America – is over, that the women (Cardi B, Lizzo, Jorja Smith, Rosalia, Tierra Whack) reigned supreme across its two-day schedule, that the men (Blueface, Gucci Maine, Travis Scott) were mostly ‘meh’, and that, though comfortable, its crowds were far less than previous years. 

Cardi B performs onstage during Made In America – Day 1.

For Jay-Z and RocNation to push forward with Made in America, and keep it packed, there are steps I believe he must take to ensure its popularity with Philadelphia and beyond.

Made In America – Day 1 at Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

1. All that crybaby stuff from last year where Hova got upset about having to move it from the center of the city and the Art Museum runway has probably left a bad taste in many local people’s mouths, whether they say so or not. Beyond gracing Philly with his presence, as it so often seems in the case of MiA, perhaps Jay could spend time in the area doing some community building – throw free shows with new RocNation artists. Make his beneficence known to Philly. 

Anderson .Paak performs onstage during Made In America – Day 1.

2. As he did this year with throwing his hat in with the NFL – contradicting his ballers’ kneeling stance from years previous and dissing Colin Kaepernick in the process – perhaps Jay should shy from any controversy surrounding the festival. Stay at home with Bey and the kids during the summer preceding MiA 2020. 

3) Don’t have it Labor Day Weekend. That August 31 through September 1 gap is, traditionally, the last moment in which Philly and Jersey kids can celebrate summer in the shore towns. It’s a Philly thing. Sure, it worked for a little while, but, now that MiA is an annual thing, we’re already taking it for granted that it is coming back, and we know we can miss a day. This might annoy Beyonce, who always counts on getting her Cake Life Bake Shop birthday goodies early, but, she can hold off a few days, without getting all Lemonade, right?

Tierra Whack performs onstage during Made In America – Day 2.

4) Now that Budweiser is gone as a big mediating sponsor, who would make for a great next one? My bid is for Amazon. Sure, Philly hates Jeff Bezos for not building his warehouse here, but, they have visibility and clout. Just as they did with mail out boxes for Taylor Swift’s Lover and their streaming service’s top-tier series Good Omens, Amazon could make and mail out a special series of Made in America boxes earlier in the season as a subtle reminder to buy tix. The same thing is true of Jay’s new ties to the NFL. Make good use of Philadelphia’s Eagles and the rest of the league. Get them to wear MiA insignias however you can hide them. 

Megan Thee Stallion performs onstage during Made In America – Day 2.

5) This one is going to hurt. As much as I love the 99.9% hip-hop booking, charts now show that pop is taking a bite out of rap’s chart dominance. 

Recalling how Made in America started as a two-day affair with one day’s headliner devoted to big name alterna-rock such as Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden, perhaps Hova could get Live Nation to go Pop for that second day and bring in a Jonas Brothers, an Ariana Grande, Shawn Mendes, or – a true coup for her hometown fans – a Taylor Swift. 

Lizzo performs onstage during Made In America – Day 2.

Just a thought, or five.

Images: Lisa Lake, Kevin Mazur.

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