By Kristina Dixon
LONG BEACH — The third annual ComplexCon was hip-hop headquarters Nov. 3-4 at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Cultural leaders in creativity, entrepreneurship and good vibes all came together to celebrate and educate hip-hop culture, music, art, food, style, sports, innovation, activism and education.
ComplexCon, sponsored by Puma, precisely organized a two-day indoor/outdoor convention and festival. Both days started in the wee hours of the morning with people camped outside the convention center and entry lines stretching as far as the parking structure. High security was enforced to accommodate the amount of people, which almost surpassed capacity.
Speakers and attendees, a.k.a. “Hypebeasts,” traveled from as far as Japan, dressed in their trendiest designer brands mixed with Los Angeles-inspired styles.
With over 20 conversations and performances from the hottest influencers, trendsetters, and living legends in the entertainment, fashion, tech and sports world, there was something for everyone. The ComplexCon app let people reserve their spots in line and navigate through the center. Those who were lost, late or shopping, could watch and listen on the Jumbotron, so no moments were missed.
ComplexCon hosted its ComplexCon(versations), where guest speakers discussed and educated their audience on various topics from music, fashion politics and film.
Popular panels included “New God Flow: How to Make a Rap Album in 2018” with rapper Raekwon, the chef of Wu-Tang Clan; “How to Make It in America” with entrepreneur Karen Civil, “How ‘Belly’ Changed Hip-Hop & Hollywood” with film director Hype Williams; “Crossed Over: Jordan vs. Iverson” with retired NBA player Allen Iverson; and “Women Behind the Lens” with Los Angeles native actress Issa Rae.
Lines of excitement were everywhere. Popular South Los Angeles food truck restaurant, All Flavor No Grease had a line wrapped around its truck at the First We Feast Lagoon. Or people were in a line saving their spot at the Pigeons and Planes stage, waiting for Long Beach native rapper Vince Staples to open.
Awaiting in line for a conversation, Long Beach local podcaster Jeb B. said, “I can’t believe Pharrell brought this here, for a chance to get in his mind, I feel blessed.”
Cultural Director/Executive Chair Pharrell Williams and legendary artist Takashi Murakami held a special meet and greet at the Billionaire Boys Club pop-up shop. Signed copies of Williams’ new book, “A Fish Doesn’t Know Its Wet,” were available for purchase, along with apparel and Murakami’s exclusive art pieces.
Whether you are a hip-hop junkie, sneaker head, gadget geek or a culture vulture ComplexCon was the place to learn the latest.