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.

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