The third annual ComplexCon brought tens of thousands of people together in Long Beach, Calif., For a pop-up weekend of shopping with exclusive sneaker outings, in-depth moderated conversations, and musical performances.
âThere is chaos in the world right now, but also an incredible movement of young people rising up to create something better and from that energy new ideas and new movements are echoing in everything touching. it was important to embrace culture at ComplexCon this year, âsaid Takashi Murakami.
The two-day festival and exhibition made Pharrell Williams and Takashi Murakami Co-Chairs of the Host Committee. Influencers and celebrities like DJ Mustard, Trinidad James and Clippers rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander graced the show floor while ComplexCon (Versations) featured iconic appearances like NBA legend Allen Iverson.
On the first day, Iverson surprised the audience during ComplexCon moderation (version) “Crossed Over: Jordan vs. Iverson” by Jemele Hill. Jerry Lorenzo, Kerby Jean-Raymond, Pierce Simpson and Victor Cruz discussed the implications of Michael Jordan as opposed to Iverson from a basketball, fashion and cultural perspective.
âMJ has been put on a pedestal for us,â said Cruz. âAI felt like it was coming from the hood. It influences how I wanted to be on and off the pitch. These are the differences that made me more in love with basketball, loose t-shirts and pants. “
âMJ was seen as a much more inspiring perfect figure,â Simpson added. “The AI ââwas robust, it was unfiltered.”
Back in the showroom, festival-goers followed Williams to various booths as he toured, stopping at urban streetwear brand Billionaire Boys Club and Popsockets, which had a bounce house setup.
(LR) ComplexCon’s “Women Behind the Lens” panel (version) featured HBO “Insecure” creator and actress Issa Rae, “Grownish” star Yara Shahidi, “Everday” Struggle co-host and producer “from Complex Nadeska Alexis, music video director Karena Evan, Showtime’s” The Chi “writer and producer Lena Waithe, and Atlantic writer Jemele Hill. (Courtesy Photo Instagram @rachelle_jl)
The festival has been the epicenter of high level collaborations. Diamonds Supply Co. founder Nicky Diamonds has teamed up with 1800 Tequila and New York artist Adam Lucas to design a limited supply of denim jackets. Those lucky enough to get a winning scraper could choose from Lucas-designed patches and have their names embroidered on their one-of-a-kind denim jacket.
âThe collaborations are obviously great because you bring different worlds together, especially this one with Adam, he’s an artist and his art is amazing, but his fans might not be Diamond. [Supply Co.] fans if they’re not skateboarders, so it’s cool that we can bring our fan base to them with Diamond, and vice versa, and the same with 1,800 Tequila, âDiamonds told the LA Sentinel. The much sought-after designer also collaborated with Nike to produce a limited edition Nike SB shoe for the 20th anniversary.
âWho wouldn’t want to work with the biggest shoe company,â Diamonds asked.
Nike and many other big shoe brands drew the longest lineups. For those who were tired of the queues, attendees were able to enjoy musical performances from artists like Vince Staples, Nav and Rae Sremmurd on the Pigeons and Planes Arena stage throughout the day.
Day two featured more taste makers with one of the most popular ComplexCon (Versions), the âWomen Behind the Lensâ panel which featured a star cast including HBO âInsecureâ creator and actress Issa Rae. ; Showtime’s “The Chi” writer and producer Lena Waithe; “Grownish” star Yara Shahidi; music video director Karena Evans; and Complex’s “Everday” Struggle co-host and producer Nadeska Alexis.
Artist duo Friends With You pose with ComplexCon Co-Chair Pharrell Williams at the Popsockets booth for ComplexCon 2018 (Photo by Kasey Stokes / LA Sentinel)
Waithe enlightened the crowd by explaining his defining moments.
“People think the decisive moments have to be public, but they are not,” Waithe remarked. “For me, it came when I trusted my voice.”
âThere was no guide on the [career] path I wanted, âRae added. âPeople had not taken the measurements the way I envisioned. Much of my mentorship came from my friends, hitting my friends in high school and college. I had the community that I relied on and on me.
As the day wore on, attendees filled the arena with pigeons and planes to watch Future complete the eventful weekend. He performed a litany of his hit songs like “Real Sisters”, “Jumpan”, “Wicked” and “Blase”. Future brought in Memphis rapper Moneybagg Yo to ignite the scene with his single “Okay” with Future.
With so many celebrity appearances, collaborations and performances, ComplexCon, the convention held lived up to its Millennial Generation World Expo theme.