Jay Z Stands By Barneys Partnership, Despite Racial Profiling Controversy

Contributing Writer
11.16.13 40 Comments

Words by Bansky

When Jay Z came under fire for a partnership with Barneys that became controversial when two cases of racial profiling by the store came to light, Jiggaman did what any regular person does in that situation, he blogged. Jay said he was “waiting on facts” before making a decision “prematurely,” which is perfectly justified. Now, however, he has made a decision to continue with the partnership with the high-end retailer and it’s admittedly before having the facts he so desperately sought in the first place.

In a new statement released on Friday via Life+Times, Jay declares “While I await the findings of the Attorney General’s Office, I have agreed to move forward with the launch of BNY SCC collection.” Jay cites charity, not profit, as his reasoning to continue with the project, and mentions the amount of profits that his Shawn Carter Foundation will receive from the collection of clothing and accessories that will be available at the store and on its website November 20th.

Hov also continues his “my presence is charity” rhetoric by announcing that he will be receiving a “seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling.” So, instead of taking actual action, by possibly dropping the collaboration and giving actual consequences to Barneys’ actions, loss of what will surely be a profitable venture for the company, Jay would rather sit in on a council and talk about action?

Jay must from here on out begin to understand that his mere presence is not charity “like Obama.” Maybe Jay Z does provide hope to some simply by existing, but here he had a chance to do more than merely exist. The rapper turned mogul could’ve made the kind of difference he mistakenly believe his presence offers. The perceived boastfulness of the “presence is charity” statement has now graduated from actual arrogance to stupidity and foolishness. If Jay’s presence was actually a difference-maker, his original presence within Barneys as a business partner would have stopped the profiling from happening in the first place, no?

Masking the forwarding of his brand, which is in the end exactly what the Barneys partnership is, behind the rouse of charity is now laughable and insulting. Years ago, Hov’s business partner and friend, LeBron James, used the same lack of judgement when he hid the branding experiment “The Decision” behind the mask of the money raised for the Boys and Girls club by the broadcast. In the years, following, LeBron went on to acknowledge the mistake that “The Decision” was. Now, it remains to be seen if Hov’s move will follow suit. Admittedly, this likely is not the end of Jay’s entire response to the controversy, and there may be stronger more proactive solutions put into motion by him and his team after this. However, as of now, Jay has dropped the ball and it remains to be seen if he’ll bounce up like roundball.

Read his full statement below.

“In the past several weeks two separate investigations were launched as a result of the wrongful detention of Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips. My team has been privy to the status of the Barneys third party consultant investigation. In continuing our research, we also contacted the New York State Attorney General’s office for the status of their investigation into both Barneys and Macy’s. Those findings are not yet available.

“While I await the findings of the Attorney General’s Office, I have agreed to move forward with the launch of BNY SCC collection under the condition that I have a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling. I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others. I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward. I am choosing to take this head on.

“As I previously stated, the collaboration with Barneys has always been about giving and The Shawn Carter Foundation. From this collection, the Foundation will receive not only 25% of sales, it will now receive the additional 75% of Barneys’ sales, totalling 100% of all sales from BNY SCC. Along with 100% of sales from the collaboration, the Foundation will receive an additional 10% of all retail sales from Barneys New York stores nationwide and Barneys.com on November 20th.” – Shawn “JAY Z” Carter

Previously: Jay Z Responds To Barneys Critics: “I’m No Stranger To Being Profiled”

Photo: Getty

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