It’s been an exciting past couple of weeks for America. First, there was the Republican National Convention in Tampa, and then a week later was the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. I did try to watch the conventions as much as I could – eagerly waiting to hear what the candidates had to say about Made in America. But the political conventions aren’t what I want to talk about today.
Sandwiched right in between the 2 conventions during Labor Day weekend, was The Made in America Festival organized by rap sensation Jay-Z and sponsored by Budweiser. The 2-day festival held in Philadelphia didn’t get much attention on the west coast, but it was a buzz all weekend long on Twitter from concert attendees. I did see commercials for the festival, aired nightly during the Daily Show, (which by the way, is how I get most of my political coverage) so I knew it had to be a pretty big deal.
My first reaction to the festival was confusion. What does “Made in America” have to do with a 2-day music festival sponsored by a beer company? But then my husband pointed out that the stage was Jay-Z’s soap box, and “isn’t it a good thing that someone so high profile is shouting the Made in America message? Bringing awareness to the masses is the ultimate goal.” Okay – that’s a legitimate argument.
To further understand the festival’s goal, I went online and watched a couple you-tube videos promoting the festival, and began to understand why it’s called the Made in America Festival. Not only does Jay-Z have a song with Kanye West called Made in America, but apparently Jay-Z sees himself as a prime example of and American success story. – Legitimate argument number 2. But I still had a hard time wrapping my head around a whole music festival called Made in America. It seemed like this could be another form of Red White and Blue Washing.
Maybe I’m getting too worked up? Is it just a name of a concert, and that’s it? After all, no one questioned Madonna’s Like a Virgin Tour and thought she was promoting abstinence. Legitimate argument number 3. – I just think Jay-Z could have taken this opportunity to really take a stand and promote not only his music, but also manufacturing in America.
I think calling it a Made in America Festival, diminishes the movement. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jay-Z. I like his music, I like his rags to riches story, but what I don’t like is him using those 3 words as a marketing ploy. – By definition “MADE” is: Produced or manufactured by constructing, shaping, or forming.
Which brings me to my point – Can music be called “Made in America”? Music can’t be outsourced to another country to be made cheaper. Sure it can be an American artist recording music in America, – but where are the CD’s made? What about Jay-Z’s clothing line Rocawear? Where is that made? And what about the “official” Made in America festival merchandise? The concert T-Shirts are made in America, but the Budweiser gear isn’t. Shouldn’t Jay-Z, and Budweiser be practicing what they preach?
There has to be some standard on what is called Made in America. How far do these kind of claims go? What about a haircut? Can a hair stylist claim they do haircuts Made in America? I think we can all agree that’s ridiculous. So why can a concert be called Made in America?
Made in America is about manufacturing. Period. That’s what MADE in America means to me, and thousands of other men and women who are committed to making products in America. Not where you were born, or where you’re based.
An ironic side note – more than a third of the artists at the Made in America Festival were international decent. Musicians from Sweden, France, the Netherlands and everywhere in between. So they can’t hype that Made in America is American musicians coming together to promote the cause.
Granted – I didn’t GO to the festival, so take my commentary as you will. I read a lot of blogs and reviews of the concert and I learned that Pearl Jam front man, Eddie Veder was the only one that mentioned jobs being sent overseas, ”We’d like to see a few more things made in America,” – You and me both Eddie.
I live Made in America every day. I support my family with a company that makes products in the United States, and every day I wake up hoping my email is filled with orders from customers who believe in purchasing and supporting Made in America. I don’t just preach it, I live it.
What do you think? Do you think this festival is another form of Red, White and Blue Washing? Or just one rapper cashing in on false claims? – It’s not the first time.
(I should mention, RocaWear has not responded to my inquiry about where it’s made, at the time this is posted. Budweiser did confirm that the BudGear merchandise listed on their website unless otherwise noted is made in China)
*images are screenshots from Rocawear, Budweiser, and Made In America Festival