Normally, the Philadelphia Museum of Art's steps has dozens of tourists and fitness buffs huffing up and down the stairs or taking pictures. On Monday morning, hundreds of music fans lined the famous steps for a glimpse of hip-hop music mogul Shawn "Jay-Z " Carter as he announced the upcoming "Budweiser Made in America" music festival.
Carter, who is married to fellow music superstar Beyoncé Knowles, will curate and headline the blockbuster roster of talent, which will include nearly 30 artists that embody the American spirit performing across three stages on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park on Saturday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept. 2.
A primary goal of this music festival is to have a positive impact on the communities involved. This concert will benefit United Ways in Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, Lancaster County, Pa. and New York City, enabling them to invest more dollars into their regions, strengthening local communities and improving lives. As a result of this concert, the money invested into these communities will positively impact the education, income and health of the most vulnerable and most needy citizens in these regions.
After making history with back-to-back performances at Carnegie Hall, Carter is teaming up with Budweiser and United Way for the Labor Day weekend Live Nation-produced extravaganza to benefit United Way. "Whenever I enter into a project I hit on some touch points, the first being is it great," Jay-Z said. "You can't hit great every time, but sometimes once you start there you'll end up in a great place. The second one is, is it going to push the culture forward. I think this concert would do that. Budweiser did that in the past with the Superfest where they gave a platform for artists to perform mainly hip-hop and R&B arts, and you know when the opportunities wasn't as plentiful as they are today. Third, is there a philanthropic opportunity, and that's where the united Way comes in. We just did some brilliant work at my Carnegie hall concert, and raised a lot of money to help those less fortunate and that's a great thing for us. And they are also going to work with some local charities in New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area."
As Carter was speaking, a man yelled, "HOV, you're the best!" The audience burst out in laughter when Carter responded, "I agree."
Other fans screamed in the background (and even at times booed anyone other than Jay-Z on the mic).
Local music notables such as rapper Freeway and activist Charlie Mack where among those gathered at the museum.
"Everyone knows my love affair with Philly from the amazing talented artists I've signed from here to the film work I'm about to do with Will Smith and James Lassiter at Overbrook," explained Carter. "And, the last one: I've got to make my momma proud so I can’t do half-baked, so I'm really putting my all into this and can announce that we have over 70 percent of the artists already confirmed. It's going to be a great day in Philly."
The eclectic roster of talent cultivated by Carter will be announced on May 21 and will include acts ranging from rock, hip-hop, R&B, Latin and dance.