The Internet Comes to Life at the 2017 ComplexCon
Waves of people flocked to the Long Beach Convention Center this past weekend, from Nov. 4-5, for the second annual ComplexCon hosted by Complex Magazine. The two day event featured the biggest names in fashion, art, food, music, and much more. ComplexCon was first brought to life in 2016 with a vision of bringing the internet to the real world through everything that is considered popular culture.
The 2017 convention center floor was packed wall to wall with bright and creative exhibits from the biggest clothing companies in the world. Crowds of hundreds became restless as they gathered outside the front doors of the convention center hours before the doors were even opened. Once the public was invited in, mobs of men and women of all ages began to rush the doors creating panic and confusion for security. Once inside, things were just as hectic. Companies like Nike and Adidas drew the biggest crowds because of the exclusive shoes and clothing that were being sold at their exhibits. Creating havoc on day two, Nike surprised fans when they brought out rapper Kendrick Lamar and former NBA star Kobe Bryant to speak at their booth in a panel discussion format.
“This year was bigger and better in so many ways, but it was also a little more manic and hectic,” said Noah Callahan-Bever, Chief Content Officer and Editor in Chief of Complex magazine.
Once the initial rush was over and crowds began to settle down, people began to explore and start shopping the hundreds of other exhibits that were on display. Many exhibits featured collaborations with renowned artists. Clothing company “Obey” used their booth to showcase new work from artist Shepard Fairey, his new designs were featured on five different t-shirts that were for sale with 100% of the profits going to the Southern Poverty Law Center to combat injustice and racism. Los Angeles based clothing company Diamond Supply partnered with legendary graffiti artist RETNA to for some limited edition t-shirts and even a live graffiti session.
The convention center floor was also home to the “Pigeons and Planes” stage where dozens of musicians performed over the weekend. Saturday featured Artists like Dreezy, Smokepurpp, and Ski Mask The Slump God who are all rising stars in the rap world. The “Pigeons and Planes” stage closed out Saturday with some bigger artists like Superduperkyle, A-Trak and Friends, and ASAP Ferg. Day 2 featured Artists Jaden Smith, Dram, and DJ Khaled who had the crowd full of energy throughout the afternoon on Sunday. The biggest surprise of the day came when rapper and designer Pharrell Williams came out on the small stage, bringing along with him some huge names in Hip-Hop. Migos, Lil Uzi Vert, 2 Chainz, and Ty Dolla Sign joined Pharrell on stage to give fans a show they would never forget.
More intimate moments at ComplexCon could be found in the Grand Ballroom or Lounge Room of the Long Beach Convention Center where Complex was hosting over a dozen panel discussions that brought real social media driven conversations to life with the help of celebrities and experts. Hosted by Complex Magazine's Joe La Puma, The “Sneaker of The Year” panel featured huge stars like rapper Wale, NBA rookie Lonzo Ball, NFL star Victor Cruz, and others. The panel discussions wrapped up Sunday evening with a Generation Debate that discussed the changing world of Hip-Hop music. This panel included rappers Rick Ross, Cam’ron, Superduperkyle, A$AP Ferg and Young M.A.
Both days wrapped up with night shows in the ComplexCon Arena. Pharrell and his group N.E.R.D performed their entire new unreleased album in front of thousands of fans Saturday night, making it the first time N.E.R.D performed together in three years. Artists Gucci Mane, M.I.A., and Young Thug all hit the arena stage Sunday night to close out ComplexCon with a bang. Callahan-Bever, one of the masterminds behind the birth of ComplexCon said, “I'm just so proud to see 50,000 young people motivated to come out and engage with our brand.”