African Flavor at the 2017 Made in America Music Festival
The 2017 edition of the Made in America music festival is returning to the streets of Philadelphia on the first weekend of September, which coincides with Labor Day weekend in the United States. The Made in America music festival is sometimes referred to as “Jay-Z’s festival” due to the active role the hip-hop mogul plays as an organizer. To this effect, this two-day live music event is handled by Live Nation, Jay-Z’s concert promotion firm, and he happens to be the main headliner this year. Other major stars will include electronic music duo The Chainsmokers, rap groups Migos and the Dirty South, soul songstress Solange Knowles, and many others.
Previous editions of the festival have focused on a theme of unity, cultural diversity, and social justice. For this year’s festival, music fans should expect plenty of social commentary and harsh critiques of the Trump administration. Many of the artists who will perform at the Made in America festival are represented by Jay Z’s Roc Nation agency and his Roc-A-Fella record label. It so happens that quite a few of the musicians have African and Afro-Caribbean roots:
Jorja Smith: The father of this British chanteuse, who is being compared to the late Amy Winehouse, was born in Jamaica.
Tiwa Savage: This stunning Nigerian woman performs infectious Afro-pop tunes that sound as good as she looks.
WizKid: Also from Nigeria, this Afro-beat king knows how to keep the crowd moving.
Stormzy: Born in the United Kingdom, this freestyle rapper currently dominates the British grime scene.
Mozart La Para: This rapper from the Dominican Republic mixes reggaeton with hip-hop; he is the first Latin American artist to sign with Jay-Z.
Kelela: This Ethiopian American cuts her own vocals over masterful EDM tracks. Ever since Kelela released her first mixtape in 2013, she has been gaining lots of attention from hip-hop and electronic music producers.
Maleek Berry: Born in London to Nigerian parents, he is widely respected for his work as a musician and producer of African beats from Lagos.
Green Velvet: Also known as Curtis Jones, the music of this African-American artist pays respectful homage to the groundbreaking and avant-garde work of Gary Neuman and Kraftwerk. Jones is also a hip-hop historian and very talented DJ.