Published on November 6th, 2019 | by Crystal Willis0
Top Ten Most Unforgettable Moments at ComplexCon 2019
The 4th Annual ComplexCon pop culture festival took place November 2-3 in Long Beach, CA. The weekend was a whirlwind exhibition of music, art, food, sports, innovation, activism, and education. The more-than 400,000 square foot Long Beach Convention Center was filled with exclusive shoe drops, panelists dropping gems, hot performances and celebrity sightings.
Below are our ten favorite moments from the ultimate cool kids festival:
- Day One Celebrity Sighting: Each day of ComplexCon, celebrities and influencers pop up for carefully orchestrated “surprise” photo opps at branded booths across the show room floor. Our favorite surprise guest was legendary rapper, actor and producer, LL Cool J. The seemingly-ageless superstar was swarmed by festival-goers and photographers, but graciously took countless selfies with fans. Other celebrity sightings on the festival floor day one included Offset, Jadakiss, Selena Gomez, Trinidad James, Pharrell, Lil Yachty and Ty Dolla $ign.
- Day One Panel of Choice: The panel selection this year covered a number of topics concerning pop culture, pop music, popular world issues and fashion. Our favorite panel featured young, affluent activists and stars Yara Shahidi, Storm Reid, Thandiwe Abdullah and Isra Hirsi in a candid conversation at the intersection of human rights, racism and conservation. It was thrilling and inspirational to see the passionate example of “the change our world needs” through the actions that these Gen Z’ers are taking.
- Day One Podcast Sesh: ComplexCon decided to take advantage of the live audience and set up a series of live podcast discussions in partnership with aCast, which will be available in mid-November. We sat in on an interview with film and television writer/producer Kenya Barris (Girl’s Trip, Black*ish, Grown*ish, Shaft) who discussed what it takes to bring an authentic black experience on-screen. The stellar lineup of podcast guests throughout the weekend included Takashi Murakami, Jeezy, Gilbert Arenas, Gia Peppers and many more.
- Day One Performance: I finished off day one glued to the Pigeons & Planes main stage to watch live performances from my favorite Queen Bee, Lil’ Kim, who performed her classic hits including “Get Money,” “Magic Stick,” “Crush on You,” and a Biggie tribute that had the whole venue singing along. The night culminated in a crowd pleasing performance by Grammy-winner Kid Cudi of hits such as “Pursuit of Happiness” “Up, Up and Away,” “Soundtrack 2 My Life,” “Day ‘N’ Nite” and “Mr. Rager.”
- Day Two Celebrity Sightings: After a night of either resting or raging, the cool crowd descended back onto the festival floor to cop more exclusive merch drops and spot their favorite stars. Among the celebrity sightings on day two were head artist and curator of Complex Con creative, Takashi Murakmi, R&B superstar Usher, Black Eyed Peas, Steve Aoki, A-Trak, Trina, Draya Michelle and Jerry Ferrara. Once they worked up an appetite, festival-goers could retreat outdoors to stuff their faces at Jameson’s First We Feast Lagoon.
- Boss Sightings on Day Two: Day two featured a robust line-up of mogul panelists including Master P, Lil’ Kim, Eve, Rick Ross, Jeezy, D’Wayne Wade and Trina. Anyone who didn’t venture off the show room floor missed out on a ton of gems from these decorated culture-makers.
- Favorite Day Two Panel Sesh: Our favorite panel of the day took place on the intimate ComplexStudio stage and delivered a straight-forward lesson to aspiring music producers on “How to Make a Modern Day Rap Hit.” Multi-platinum producers Zaytoven, Hitmaka, Murda Beatz, Tainy and newcomer Lil’ CC chatted with Complex journalist Speedy Norman about how to craft a rap song that tops the charts. We loved that they spent a great deal of time serving up encouragement and advice to producers who are just starting out.
- Pigeons & Planes Stage Day Two: The favorite moment I personally missed was a surprise performance by trending new hip hop star, Da Baby, but luckily our photographer was there to capture the flurry of fandom. Since we’re getting personal, I’ll share that 21Savage and A Boogie Wit A Hoodie left me wanting more enthusiasm from the young chart-toppers on stage, but Anderson Paak and The Free Nationals more than made up for it. I was out of breath dancing to the electrifying full band stage performance of hits including, “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance,” “Come Down,” “ King James,” “6 Summers,” and “Bubblin.”
- Favorite Footwear: Our favorite shoes of the weekend: Puma, the official ComplexCon footwear sponsor, never goes out of style. The brand had prime positioning, games, customization and even a “palm reader” listening booth where we got to check out their newest sneakers and hear unreleased music (sans my cellphone) from Danileigh and Matt Ox. I only wished for better speakers and an actual palm reader.
- Favorite Activation: My favorite booth of the weekend to look at was Reebok’s activation with Billionaire Boys Club. The visually stunning booth featured a super tall neon rocket ship, interactive basketball dunk photo booth and exclusive shoe drops. The booth that had me wanting to hang out and never leave was Def Jam Recordings. The iconic label celebrated 35 years of music history with a ton of artist sightings, a New York subway-theme, a classic cassette tape photo booth and throwback merch. The LL Cool J selfie I managed to grab without fan-girling took the cake.