Jay Z has decided to follow through with his partnership with Barneys for the upcoming holiday season, despite allegations of the store racially profiling at least two African-American customers.
The hip-hop mogul was being urged to cut all ties with the luxury store after it was revealed that one man was arrested and another woman surrounded by police officers after they made expensive purchases at the Manhattan store.
Initially Jay Z remained mum on the subject, but he is finally explaining why he decided to keep quiet and why he isn’t likely to drop his deal with Barneys.
“I move and speak based on facts and not emotion,” he said. “I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys.”
During his period of silence, however, Jay Z was already demonized for not speaking up despite the fact that many of the details of the incidents were still fuzzy.
“Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately,” he said. “The negligent, erroneous reports and attacks on my character, intentions, and the spirit of this collaboration have forced me into a statement I didn’t want to make without the full facts.”
Frankly, Jay Z has a point. There haven’t been many facts released about the incidents, other than what each victim said happened. In that case, it would still be too soon to make a rational decision on his partnership with the luxury store. In fact, he claimed that making that type of “snap judgement” based on emotions and not facts is exactly what racial profiling is.
“I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles,” he questioned during the lengthy statement he posted on his website. “I am no stronger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change.”
Jay Z also explained that the collaboration with Barneys to give a certain percentage of sales back to charity is something that was “born out of creativity and charity… not profit” and he doesn’t want anyone thinking he is keeping the partnership for the sake of money.
During the holidays the store will also be selling a promotional line inspired by Jay Z called “A New York Holiday.”
Meanwhile, Barneys has apologized for the racial profiling incidents and announced that it would be working closely with an official from the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network to go over their store’s policies and more closely examine the racial profiling allegation.
It’s also important to note that Barneys is a nationwide brand and that the Manhattan store is only one of its many locations across the U.S.
With both of the racial profiling allegations occurring in the same store, it’s likely that the real issue exists within that particular location or with a select few employees, rather than the brand as a whole.