It was a busy weekend in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday, as Complex held its first-ever Chicago installment of ComplexCon, with a number of big performances, brand activations and live, on-stage chats.
For two whole days, music, fashion, art and culture were on full display, as Juice WRLD took part in a Hot Ones Live interview with Sean Evans; The Roots' Questlove and Black Thought were part of a panel to discuss hip-hop's powerful influence; NBA2K20 announced a new soundtrack; Grammy winner Ella Mai delivered a gripping headlining Saturday performance, as did ScHoolboy Q on Sunday; Puma debuted a new collaboration with Alonzo Jackson, aka the Fashion Geek; T.I., Killer Mike and David Banner gave personal insight on setting up local communities and neighborhoods for success; and Vic Mensa announced a new clothing line.
As the lines of music, culture and fashion are continually blurred, ComplexCon's Chicago debut seemed both timely and special, offering realtime conversations about topics affecting many people's everyday lives, especially in a culture increasingly facing issues of inequality and injustice, sometimes at the hands of powerful leaders.
Sure, with the likes of Puma and Converse on hand, sneaker announcements and NBA legends talking to a standing-room-only crowd, it's easy to point to the weekend's many entertainment and retail highlights, but as ComplexCon comes in the middle of festival (in fact, just two weeks before Lollapalooza kicks off in the same city), the two-day event managed to carve out a unique space.
There are still a number of upcoming festivals on the circuit this year. But where else are you going to see Chicago native and singer BJ the Chicago Kid take part in a candid conversation about the importance of organ donations in multicultural communities? Perhaps it's a testament of the need for more open conversations or the need for more multidimensional events. Or maybe it's both.