4th of July Jam In Philly: Good Concert, Bad Language

Happy %#@* birthday, America!


On Friday night, aka the 4th of July, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Hudson, Ed Sheeran and the Roots took to the stage in front of the Art Museum for a pre-fireworks concert. It was a fun show, but what the [expletive deleted] was with all the cursing?

With the exception of Jennifer Hudson, who proved to be a class act all the way, one by one, the acts hired to entertain the crowd of many thousands (a crowd that included plenty of children) couldn’t refrain from dropping the F-bomb. Oh, there have been some slips of profanity in years past, but this year seemed particularly problematic.

Concert broadcaster 6 ABC didn’t just bleep out the profanities as Roots frontman Black Thought dropped the curses left and right at the start of the show — they cut out the entire transmission, video and all, switching to a 6 ABC logo until it was safe to return.

But that was nothing compared to Nicki Minaj, whose buxom getup no doubt inspired some wishes for a wardrobe malfunction. Minaj managed to fit “bitch,” “shit,” and “motherfucker” into her set many times over.

When concert closer Ed Sheeran took the stage, I had guessed that our delicate ears would be safe. But no. The ginger-haired British pop guy treated the masses to his new tune “Don’t.” The hook (they used to call that a chorus, FYI) repeats the line “Don’t fuck with my love.”

Oh, and then there was comedian-host Marlon Wayans. I guess you can’t really expect a comedian to class things up, and Wayans certainly didn’t. In addition to all of the cursing, he also peppered his lines with “nigga” this and “nigga” that. And he just had to make a dick joke, because, hey, this is Philly. Happy fucking 4th of July, America!

Listen, I’m no prude when it comes to the English lexicon. Anyone who has an office within earshot of mine has heard plenty. I can curse with the best of them. But I don’t do it around my kids or around other people’s kids, and I expect others to act the same way, especially on a national holiday and in the place that started it all.

“Yes, we know how to throw a party,” opined former mayoral candidate Sam Katz on Facebook last night. “But we have a long way to go in knowing how to celebrate July 4th!” Katz, who explained that he watched the concerts in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., suggests that we need to incorporate some ideas from these other cities. “Separating the patriotic elements from the concert in the evening is ridiculous,” he insists.

Katz is right. Our 4th of July concert is a ton of fun, but it’s no 4th of July celebration. Maybe the next mayor will overhaul it, keeping the Roots and the fun but making it a little more family friendly. Meanwhile, 4th of July in Philadelphia needs to come with one of those “Parental Warning: Explicit Lyrics” stickers.

POLL Does the 4th of July Concert in Philly Need to Be More Family Friendly?

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  • disqus_JjYnU5MRNk

    Maybe the performers were trying to relate to Philadelphia folks. You can’t ride Septa or walk down a street without hearing a string of F bombs.

    • liberals are ignorant asses

      That also says everything about the trash that lives in the city. Not everyone is like that

  • Rocco Lamagela

    Wouldn’t subject myself to that let alone my wife, my kids, my sister or my mother! Not part of my vocabulary even when in a bar with the guys!

  • Cheeky215

    I only enjoyed Jennifer Hudson..and Aloe Blacc..the rest was just low class..F bombs.. N bombs and MFbomb etc., not really class for a free concert you’d imagine people would bring their family to… you can have current hip acts without all trash like Nicki M..ugh

  • phillysportsfan

    Whenever anyone says “look, I’m no prude” it means they’re a prude.

  • judethom

    It is naive and stupid to think that you can have a mammoth concert at night and expect the entertainers to keep to a Mister Rogers language code. The lineup was terrible anyway—pure Philly style. . The whole thing was declasse

    • Ann Page

      IT IS THE CELEBRATION OF THE NATION. WE are being broadcast nationwide. Philadelphia has plenty of talent who doesn’t use foul language.

      • Bill

        It wasn’t really seen nationwide on a major network. It was broadcast on VH1…not really mass appeal. It’s a channel where the entertainment fits nicely. Seems the people of Philly were the last to know that their July 4th concert was tailor made for a low rated cable channel-VH1. That’s funny in itself.

    • frankp

      I would expect WPVI to air a family-friendly concert from 7-8 PM (family hour on television). Instead, my young daughter told me that Vicci Martinez sang the S word while I was out of the room. Then, while I was watching with her, Marlon Wayans came on talking about smoking pot, getting drunk and jokes about blacks & whites. It’s ridiculous for people to say “big deal…it’s just words”. Is that what I’m supposed to say when my daughter goes somewhere and yells “NEGRO, DUCK!!!”? (because that’s what you expect to hear at a 4th of July concert???) And Mayor Nutter’s response was just awful! It’s like he just said “Welcome America…if you don’t like it, leave!”

  • Dude

    They need to fix the lineup to make it more family friendly. That will help with the trash afterwards too, as the mobs of teens (of all races) who were there for Nicki were profligate with the littering. It was nice to see a city worker chew out a bro who had tossed his trash into the can instead of waiting five seconds for the worker to replace the bag.

    • Ann Page

      WE need to replace the team who came up with this atrocity! They obviously dont know anything about being patriotic or how to showcase it NATIONWIDE. In that stage there was not even an American Flag.

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  • deblore

    I had to wait and catch the jam on VH1 on west coast tape delay. Mortifying. But for Jennifer Hudson who, as always, was all class and talent, there was nothing either family friendly nor patriotic in the least about the “party”. And even VH1 was trying to bleep the expletives but there were so many, it was impossible. There’s a time and a place for certain language and decorum. The 4th of July city celebration in the Cradle of Liberty where our country began is neither the time to “go illiterate ghetto” as Wayans did, nor give censors (and parents) a coronary. And as for Minaj – a tribal hooker look with a mouth more vulgar than the roughest sailor only serves to make one embarrassed to say they are from Philly and this us how the City celebrates the 4th. Sadly, I doubt if anyone performing at the jam even knew who George M. Cohan or John Philip Sousa are – now THAT’S what you include in a July 4th celebration. At least now we know why all the garbage trucks were positioned in the jam area – to clean up the trashy language being thrown all over the place. Trucks just should have been put into service before the “talent” ever took the stage.

  • Monica

    Here’s a thought…. no one forced people to attend a free concert. What did people expect after seeing the lineup? If you think the artists are trashy, stay at home or go to festival pier.

    • Ann Page

      Monica, I wonder what the fourth of July represents to you. The concert did not represent what we were celebrating. Furthermore, there were families with children anxiously waiting for fireworks but before they could enjoy the sky to light up the children got a lesson on foul language. Many parents were certainly happy to have their children repeat “Don’t fuck with my Love”.

  • Kay

    sorry but “Don’t” by Ed goes “Don’t (breath in) with my love, that heart is so cold…” this is even how it is on the album. Although the intended word there is supposed to be Fuck he never actually says it

  • musicfan87

    You reap what you sow. If you invite artists that are traditionally known for having “questionable” morals, this is what you will get. Philly paid a LOT of money to have these artists come here and “entertain” its citizens. Trendy or not, is this how low Philadelphia thinks of its citizens? I guarantee each one of these artists had to sign a contract at least 10 pages long with clauses and rules. If Philly didn’t want these artists using profanity, that should have been included as one of the contractual points. I guarantee if they didn’t get paid if they swore- it would be the cleanest show you ever saw. Don’t doubt it for one minute- the city of Philadelphia was in the driver seat here and they crashed. Sad.

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  • Charliefoxtrot

    Careful, Fiorello, you don’t want to get fired like the guy from Opie and Anthony. We’re supposed to embrace black expression and thought, cursing in front of children and littering carelessly are nothing to criticize, are you some kind of bigot?

    Systemic racism explains all this, according to every liberal ever. That is, if you dare criticize black cultural failings at all, as Cosby found out awhile back. Best to keep quiet, and not to say anything when people litter in front of you or drop an F bomb in front of your kids, because diversity.

    Weird how black culture (trigger warning!!! Criticism of black cultural norms follows !!!)
    completely imploded after racists in the Senate all agreed that blacks can’t be expected to feed,clothe, or house themselves by passing the Great Society. Ironically, after enslaving blacks, then enacting Jim Crow in the South, democrats decided to completely and permanently destroy what was left by enslaving them a second time.
    As LBJ rightly said after passing the bill “the coloreds will vote for us for a thousand years now “.

    • Ann Page

      Arianna Grande, bailed out on PHiladelphia cancelling at the last minute and shined her patriotic performance in New York! If she would have been here she would have been the only performing actually singing to America.

      • ICDogg

        Actually, she and Enrique Iglesias prerecorded their portions of that show on Monday in Brooklyn.

        • Ann Page

          Thats funny, because she was scheduled to participate in Philadelphia, so why didnt they include her recording?

          • ICDogg

            She was supposed to be live in Philly. The NY appearance was always going to be prerecorded. But her grandfather is very sick and she is in Florida with him, from what I heard.

    • sven eriksen

      You need to study African American history, my brotha. You seem to believe that the oppositional culture voiced by this segment of the hip hop community represents the entire African American experience. The Great Society lifted millions of Americans out of poverty, Americans of all races. When did LBJ say this? We know that he said that the passage of civil rights legislation meant that southern whites would desert the Democratic Party. Racist whites all over America decided to vote for a party that would limit civil rights….the GOP!

      • Charliefoxtrot

        Not sure how to even unpack all the wrongness in your reply.
        I’ll just ask you to prove how the GS improved life for blacks. You should be able to post links on increased labor force participation, an increase in marriage rates (might be tough since blacks divorced less than whites pre Great Society, but show your work!) a decrease in single parenthood, declining crime rates, declining incarceration rates, etc. An explanation of how paying people to not work is a permanent solution to wealth building, and how the steep dropoff in two parent households is related to not having to provide for ones children, coupled with getting less benefits when married will be a great thought exercise for you.

        Extra Credit: compare and contrast black labor force comparison to that of recent immigrant minority populations.

        In terms of how rap artists aren’t representative of black culture as a whole, I’m sure there’s some truth to that. I’d say the more accurate view is the artists reflect the culture however.

      • Guest

        Sven, why bother casting your pearls to swine – Charlie Foxtrot is clearly an idiot. Don’t waste your breathe.

      • Joseph

        Sven,,, stop being a racist idiot. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was Republican legislation, with over 80% of Republicans, and little more than half of the Democrats, voting for it. In fact, Senate Dems filibustered it for 2 months before it got voted on. (Check your history.) Thank you GOP for your support of equal rights for all of us.

  • Brian Martenis

    Personally, I thought the concert was great and Philadelphia can be proud. Some of the performers are not for everyone’s taste, naturally. It’s simply what they do. I hardly think anyone was harmed in the process. If you want Donny and Marie (also great) hire them. Philly is honest, genuine and not always PC. That is why I love it.

    • Ann Page

      The concert was great as an individual concert. Where did it celebrate America? I miss that part. Where did it highlight Philadelphia? I miss that part too. I am ashamed for the exhibit on the parkway. That concert was not representative of our pride as the birthplace of America.

    • liberals are ignorant asses

      AS long as its black and free it’s for me! you People are pathetic

  • Ken F

    It wasn’t just heard at the concert, but 6abc missed the timing of Nicki Minaj saying MF. I heard it at least 4 times. We’re not even safe at home watching broadcast TV. if people knew the actual origin of that phrase, it would hardly be used.

  • Marett A.

    Watch the actual performance of “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran. He actually made the effort to censor himself.


  • Ann Page

    On this fourth of July celebration there were major KEY factors missing. First of all, the music selection for the concert was not geared to, WE THE PEOPLE, but rather to a few who enjoy the urban ghetto sound. The foul language, improper innuendos, trashy attire and gyrating moves were insulting to me and they do not REPRESENT Philadelphia. The celebration of the fourth of July is our opportunity to showcase the birthday of America as a patriotic place where we honor our forefathers and celebrate our prosperity. Our fourth of July celebration was not only an insult to the warriors of independence but to the men and women who are serving today. They are a myriad of other talent that could be featured on the fourth of July who can depict the neighborhoods of the city, its passion and pride. The Roots, the mayors committee, Marvin Wayans, and all others who contributed in any way to this celebration, had their chance and they blew it! They should not be permitted to repeat this atrocity. There was no rockets red glare, but rather my vision was red glare and the bombs in the air gave proof through the night that MY FLAG WAS NOT THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    PS. I viewed the fourth of July celebration on television. Our celebration in comparison to New York’s and Washington looked like concert that you would advertise for in any other day. It was certainly an adult themed concert that I or families with children would NOT attend.

    • ICDogg

      Sorry, those other concerts were lame.

      • Ann Page

        Patriotic. WE are talking about celebrating America. The other concerts were designed to highlight the fourth of July and entertained all generations and all families. If the concert would have been appropriate you wouldn’t have seen the logo of Chanel 6 interrupting the show every couple of seconds attempting to block all the profanity.

        • ICDogg

          Lame. Appeal to the lamest common denominator, those who are the most easily offended. If you want that, go ahead and watch the concerts in NY and Washington, because there’s enough of that already.

          • Ann Page

            Let me put it to you this way. Its the grandmothers 85 birthday and you are throwing her a party. Would you bring that quality of music to celebrate her birthday? I think you would want to have some music that would honor her in her day. Foul language music is not proper to celebrate her birthday. Obviously we are confusing here pleasing some of the citizens of the city with honoring the birthday of America. I’m sorry but that concert did not represent the City, what we stand for and definitively NOT me. I don’t use foul language. The concert is good standing alone, it is not good as a fourth of July celebration. Thanks for reading my post. Its good to hear the other side.

          • ICDogg

            My in-laws love to watch reruns of the Lawrence Welk show, but I’m not going to that concert either.

          • liberals are ignorant asses

            you have no appreciation of what real music is for there would be none without that type of music you fool

          • Some guy

            Like there’s nothing new and fresh that’s not ghetto and disgusting…

          • liberals are ignorant asses

            It’s called class which you have none of

      • liberals are ignorant asses

        AS long as you ghetto trash get your free stuff why should you care?

    • Eric

      “Urban ghetto sound”? Just say black, that’s what you mean.

      And don’t worry, we have Pat Boone, Glen Campbell and Andy Williams on deck for next year, hopefully this lineup will be more to your liking. And they’ll all be WEARING American flags in addition to waving them so there will be NO DOUBT in anyone’s mind what day it is and what we’re here for.

      Happy belated 4th!

      • Charliefoxtrot

        You seriously take issue with the lack of any connection or mentioning of the putative reasons for the concert?

        • Ann Page

          Social classes range in race. Urban ghetto defines a classification of people not race. Believe me, not all New Yorkers come from 5th Avenue, the New York experience ranges from the fancy Park Avenue to the dark streets of the inner city. The same goes to Philadelphia, there are some people who like classical music and some who like urban ghetto. Its like the crayola box, it has a lot of colors so you can choose whatever you want. There is nothing wrong with liking urban ghetto, however, I doubt very much Benjamin Franklin would like you to use it to celebrate independence when John Phillip Sousa gave us so perfect songs to mark the occasion.

      • Johnny Domino

        Glen Campbell was going to perform, but he forgot.

      • Some guy

        The race card might not be the thing you want to pull out in comments thread where everybody is showering Jennifer Hudson with love.

      • Moving Along With Style

        Ghetto thug music is always bad.

  • Denny Velez

    The thing is people went to the concert knowing who was going to perform. I saw that everyone was smiling and having fun during that concert

    • Ann Page

      Everyone knew who was going to perform even Chanel 6 and they had to cut the program on several occasions due to vulgarity. Somebody dropped the ball, yes, sing your songs, but the fourth of July is not a platform to promote your record and ignore SINGING praises of Liberty. If these people were at your birthday and sand their little hearts off and did not sing happy birthday to you you would be mad right? Well guess what they didnt sing happy birthday to America they just came, did their thing, ignored that there were children in the public and left.

      • Denny


        • Ann Page

          A concert which is supposed to be CELEBRATING, EXALTING, HONORING, SHINING THE LIGHT on the significance of the Fourth of July on the Fourth of July in the City were it was Declared.

          Therefore –

          Mayor Nutter Apologized for 4th of July and the Nicki Minaj Cursing Debacle

  • Ann Page


  • ICDogg

    Don’t **** with our great ****ing concert. It was an awesome ****ing show and if you didn’t enjoy it you should just **** yourself, you ****ing ****s.

  • Alex Gross

    Your opinion is wrong and most of the comments below are racists trying to pretend they’re Mr. Family Values.

  • Philly2611

    What an embarrassing 4th of July celebration. Had family come in just because I am so proud of our City on the 4th and the language was WAY over the line with so many small children there. Its nit a nightclub. Its s family friendly celebration and it was so uncomfortable. I felt awful to have had family come for the first time. Spend money in our City with parking, eating, etc..and looking forward to the best 4th if July celebration to be proud of and all we could do was cringe. We had to leave. We had 6 and 7 and 8 year olds there. Whoever was responsible for this they should be fired. Entertainment was good, but the language was waaayyy over the top. New York and D.C. did so much better. Never again.

    • Ann Page


  • liberals are ignorant asses

    More rich black trash

  • Rachel Ezekiel-Fishbein

    We went to the Jam on the Parkway with our 11 year old and were sorry. Midway through Nicki Minaj, there was a stampede when people thought they heard gun shots. Rumor has it they were personal fireworks. The air was filled with pot smoke and I was stunned to see three teenage girls (maybe 20 somethings) light up sitting right between us and a family with three toddlers. As for the words, I don’t disagree that they were inappropriate; I just couldn’t really hear the exact words the performers sang. The event seems to be trying to become a second Made in American — not a family event — rather than what it was created as decades ago. Very disappointing to me for a citywide Fourth of July celebration.

  • Tonic

    Where was the patriotic music during the fireworks? I mean they could have at least played the Star Spangled Banner instead of top-40 trash. I mean, seriously.

  • tonyb

    Shame on you Nutty Nutter. What a disgraceful event. I think we need to hire the people that produce the Washington or New York event. Philadelphia…not one patriotic song the entire evening. Playing rap music to accompany the fireworks display. This event was an embarrassment to the city. Its time we need new leadership.

  • Bill

    At least it was only on VH-1, a channel that doesn’t have too many viewers!

  • poyski

    True class is gone. Bad language reflects the human interaction today. Humor is about body function and body parts which requires little imagination and creativity. The comfort food is just “road kill” with tomato sauce (the Philly Steak). Eating enough will make any Gastroenterologist happy. Keep those colonoscopees coming….

  • mike oxbig

    Nicki Minaj has a nice rack

  • girl88

    The term free in these concerts can seem ambiguous, you can see the performance for free but they don’t perform for free. The last I heard the city was hemorrhaging from school budget miscalculations. Now how much did our fine mayor give these performers to put on such a mess? Maybe if the schools could give the kids books instead of nothing then Nikkei Mintrash can stay home and talk that sh#t to herself in the Powdor room of her million dollars mansion.

  • Hica C

    The people responsible for this concert should be FIRED. Today.
    This woman is trash.

  • Sick Dr Joe

    This ‘trend’ will never ever end but only get progressively worse and more barbaric. The elites love to play at being ‘down’ with the underclass, and those are the only two elements of society the media toadies for and patronizes, in that order.

  • CitySqueans

    FYI the other concerts held in the USA were lame. I love the fact that philly got popular WORLD WIDE- AMAZINGLY talented acts. Some of which did not use profanity. Aloe Blacc for instance was phenomenal and did not curse once. I think the city NEEDS to use its leverage to inform the acts not to curse. Or have a system set up for when they do. But realize the USA is changing and your children are using that language- listening to such music- when you are not home. You can go to many different city’s for a full orchestra. In fact- im sure the philly pops played the night before. Same time same place every year. Plan ahead ppl. It was a jam session led by the Roots. And that’s exactly what you got. Trust me, if they get such acts next year..it will be even bigger- more ppl will stay in the city and spend $$. Which is in the end great for our city. Marlon Waynes wasn’t funny and should definitely keep the “black humor” to a minimum. Most don’t get it. Black & white. Mercia- Please stop the fear- know that your children are safe. Educate them. Plan ahead know that our four fathers would never complain about profanity. ;)

    • Ann Page

      How was this concert related to the fourth of July? Anyone reading your post would get a sense that Independence was heralded in the city that night. The Roots perform on national television every single night and you do not hear one single foul word from their mouths. Why would they come and open up their potty mouths in my city? They know better about censorship, the truth of the matter is that they were addressing this city as if we were trash. I am highly offended about this concert. We don’t need outsiders to come to this city to insult our intelligence with their sexually charged innuendos and racists remarks. Philadelphia has plenty of talents that can pull a major event like Pink, Kevin Bacon, Kenneth Gamble & Huff, Will Smith and the list goes on. None of these musicians use foul language and they are very proud to be from Philadelphia. I’m sure they don’t need to be reminded to be professional on stage and remember that there are children in the audience.

  • frankp

    Could you even imagine what would have happened if a white host came out for the Philly 4th of July concert and said “It looks like one of my backyard parties, but a bunch of BLACK PEOPLE showed up!”? Or “I see Philly’s finest out in full force. If you see them coming…RUN, NEGRO, RUN!!!”?