On November 5 and 6, 2016 – ComplexCon will take over Long Beach, Calif. to deliver an unparalleled experience of art, fashion, film, music, food, and tech to you, the Complex reader. Think of it as a World’s Fair, guided by the people who have the shifted our cultural landscape for the past 15 years or more. With the help of our Host Committee—the acclaimed contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, the endlessly influential producer, rapper, and collaborator Pharrell, and the hyper-successful DJ/Bieber whisperer/label head Skrillex—we’re working to ensure that our festival offers you all the looks, tastes, smells, sounds, and sights that are most important to popular culture today. However, if you’re still trying to find a reason to commit to the event, we’ve compiled the 10 best things for you to look forward to when our first-ever convention officially kicks off.
The Future of Our Schools: An Urgency for Change
FEATURING: Marc Ecko, Pusha T, Russlynn Ali, Laurene Powell Jobs, Jesse Williams, Hill Harper
We live in a world of constant change. From iPhone updates to space exploration, we’re continually striving to evolve and renew. So why aren’t our schools? Our public education system seems stuck in the past, refusing to acknowledge the countless breakthroughs and studies proven to aid a better way of learning. Teacher turned actor and activist Jesse Williams leads a discussion about the unchanging history of high school education and why a movement is needed to overhaul that system.
Achieving Longevity in the Game
FEATURING: Ice Cube, Tony Hawk, Noah Callahan-Bever
In an age when fame is more fleeting than ever, there’s an art to staying relevant. Two people who definitely know what it takes to stick around are OG rapper Ice Cube and OG skater Tony Hawk. Complex’s Chief Content Officer, Noah Callahan-Bever, will join to two legends for a talk about longevity, relevancy and what it takes to stay in the game.
The Sneaker Of The Year: A Debate
FEATURING: Wale, Russ Bengtson, DJ Clark Kent, Benjamin Kickz, Jon Buscemi, Joe LaPuma
We’ve gathered some of the most important names in sneaker culture to crowning the hottest sneaker of the year! Join us as we countdown the runner ups, explain in fine detail what goes into whats footwear great, and identify the kicks that didn’t live up to the hype. Hosted by Sneaker Shopping host Joe LaPuma.
Thread Trajectory: Where is Streetwear Going?
FEATURING: Chris Gibbs, Rob Garcia, Bobby Hundreds, Jeff Staple, Vashtie Kola, Karizza Sanchez
What happens when streetwear goes mainstream? The days when we got the latest streetwear from our local swap meets and street vendors are long gone. Now we visit our favorite brand’s boutique store in Soho or on Rodeo Drive. How did fresh fashion get so big? Complex Magazine’s Associate Style Editor, Karizza Sanchez will be joined by some of the biggest names in streetwear to talk about how it got where it is today and where it’s going in the future.
WWE Nation: Has Wrestling Gone Mainstream?
FEATURING: Wale, Peter Rosenberg, Action Bronson, Joe LaPuma
From sideshow attraction to mainstream sensation, professional wrestling has become an unavoidable part of the cultural conversation. With major events, movie stars and an entertainment empire, the WWE is here to stay. Complex Magazine’s Joe LaPuma will lead a panel of diehard wrestling fans—radio DJ Peter Rosenberg and rappers Wale and Action Bronson—for a no-holds- barred discussion about the WWE’s massive appeal, and why we just can’t get enough.
A Manner of Speaking: Language in a Digital Age
FEATURING: Jesse Williams, Aryn Drake-Lee Williams, Glenn Kaino, Angie Martinez
Language is a powerful tool for both expression and destruction, it’s the key to our relationships and the building block of human civilization. Cultural producers Jesse and Aryn Drake-Lee Williams along with Glenn Kaino will discuss the ways that they’re contributing to the innovation and evolution of language in both art and tech.
The Future of Sports Media
FEATURING: Gotham Chopra, Paul “PRod” Rodriguez, Maverick Carter, Rachel Nichols
Social Media has made it easier for celebrities and their fans to interact on a daily basis. Lebron James’ digital media company, UNINTERRUPTED, has taken that relationship even further, revolutionizing sports media by letting athletes own their narratives and connect with their fans directly. In this panel, Uninterrupted’s CEO, Maverick Carter, will be joined by the company’s Creative Director Gotham Chopra, skateboarder Paul “P-Rod” Rodriguez, and ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, to discuss this new wave of sports media, and how it’s changed the game.
Following Fame: From Instagram to Stardom
FEATURING: Jordyn Woods, Emily Sears, Lindsey Pelas, Julia Kelly, Nadeska Alexis
If you can make it on here… you can make it anywhere. That’s Instagram we’re talking about. Who would have thought that this photo sharing app would become the foundation of brand success and celebrity careers. Those who had the foresight to use the platform to leverage themselves are sitting pretty with endorsement deals, paid posts and an audience of millions at their fingertips. So how exactly does a brand go from posts to revenue? How does one make themselves an Instagram star? What’s the secret to this filtered success?
Open Run Podcast
FEATURING: Maverick Carter, Jesse Williams, Stefan Marolachakis, Nick Young, Rachel Nichols
Hosted by actor and activist Jesse Williams and writer/musician Stefan Marolachakis, Open Run is a podcast about basketball and the fun nostalgia of sports culture, produced in partnership with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s UNINTERRUPTED. In this special live edition of the show, expect high-grade hoops talk, A1 absurdity, and some very special guests.
The Business of Weed
FEATURING: Wiz Khalifa, Action Bronson, The Game, Dr. Dina, Noah Rubin
Since its legalization, Marijuana has puff puff passed its way into a booming, mainstream business. If you’re living in the right state, you could be sitting on a very green opportunity. Join rappers Action Bronson and The Game and more to talk about the drug’s undeniable popularity, and how going legal has turned big buds into bigger bucks.
The Future of Activism, Mobilization and Making a Difference
FEATURING: Lil B, Ilana Glazer, DeRay McKesson, Michael Skolnik, Luis Calderin
In an increasingly screen-oriented world, we rarely look outwards. With apps selling for billions, college students making millions and everyone looking for their next big break,have we forgotten to look at the larger picture? With the ability to connect with everyone, have we forgotten how to connect with humanity? Entrepreneur, film producer and civil rights activist Michael Skolnick and VP of Marketing & Creative for Rock the Vote, Luis Calderin, discuss the importance of taking the time to look inwards to help outwards.
Small Screens, Big Laughs
FEATURING: Timothy De La Ghetto, Jasmine Luv, Arantza Fahnbulleh, FuckJerry, Elie Ballas, Jinx
The next Seinfeld is more likely to appear in a 15 second video on your iPhone than in any network sitcom. Online platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Viber have all but replaced comedy clubs as the place to enjoy the hottest comics. But this isn’t your daddy’s comedy. This is lightening fast, biting and low fi laughs at it’s smartest. We’ve lined up a panel of the best and brightest e-comics for a hilarious peek behind the screen.
The Music Generation Gap Debate
FEATURING: DJ Mustard, Scarface, French Montana, Vince Staples, Pete Rock, Raekwon, Angie Martinez
Rap has transitioned from an underground movement to what is a crucial part of the modern pop culture. What started as a form of self-expression has evolved into a mass-market industry. The ever-changing landscape of hip-hop and how artists are bridging the gap is a hot button topic between rappers and their fans. Scarface, French Montana, Pete Rock, and Raekwon sit with the one and only Angie Martinez, representing the many generations of rap to discuss its past and present and most importantly, its future.
In Conversation with John Singleton
FEATURING: John Singleton, DeRay McKesson
Overlap is part of the creative process. As Picasso stated, “It’s a poor artist who borrows – a good artist steals.” We gain inspiration from a multitude of sources and pull from a variety of artistic wells. A true artist knows how to work across multiple platforms and see the advantages and opportunities of the art created outside his industry. Straddling the line between art, architecture and performance, Snarkitecture’s Daniel Arsham & Alex Mustonen with Kith’s Ronnie Fieg discuss the importance of colliding industries, specifically between design, retail and fashion.
Wax On It: A Listening Session of Unfinished Work
FEATURING: DJ Mustard, Timbaland, Mike Will Made It, WondaGurl, Young Guru
Good ideas don’t come to you, you have to work for them. The same goes for good beats. When it comes to creating new beats in an industry that lives or dies by them, finding the right beat will make or break you. The inspiration behind those beats is another story altogether. Join producers Timbaland and Mike Will for a discussion with host , Young Guru, as they breakdown their process for finding inspiration and making beats that will transform a song into a hit.
FEATURING: Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg, Scott Vener
The OTHERtone radio show on Beats 1 will record an episode
The Business of E-Sports
FEATURING: Steve Aoki, Tobias Sherman, Monte Cristo, Jace Hall, Imari Oliver
No longer an industry stuck in our parent’s basements, E-Sports has blown up overnight from a niche market of gamers to a world-wide phenomena. And with the ability to play video games professionally comes the ability to make professional-grade money. As with any rapidly growing opportunity, a new business model is demanded to leverage this multi-billion dollar industry. DJ Steve Aoki and a host of eSports movers and shakers align for a deep dive on the new genre that is already bigger than the Super Bowl.