Jay Z Says He's Being Demonized Over Barney's Deal
Posted by Joseph Lee on 10.28.2013
Get his side of the story...
Billboard reports that Jay Z has written a blog defending himself over the criticism he's received over his deal with Barney's New York.
He wrote: "This collaboration lives in a place of giving and is about the Foundation. I am not making a dime from this collection; I do not stand to make millions, as falsely reported. I need to make that fact crystal clear. The Shawn Carter Foundation is the beneficiary and the foundation is receiving 25% of all sales from the collaboration, 10% of all sales generated in the store on November 20th and an additional donation from Barneys. This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning. My idea was born out of creativity and charity… not profit.
I move and speak based on facts and not emotion. I haven't made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys. Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately? 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. Making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project, wouldn't hurt Barneys or Shawn Carter, but all the people that stand a chance at higher education. I have been working with my team ever since the situation was brought to my attention to get to the bottom of these incidents and at the same time find a solution that doesn't harm all those that stand to benefit from this collaboration.
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? I am no stranger 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 has been asked to back out of a deal with Barneys New York after it was accused of racially profiling two black customers (Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips) after they bought some expensive items in the storm. An online petition and Twitter messages from fans went up in the past week. Barneys and Jay Z have a deal to sell items by top designers, inspired by the rapper, with some of the proceeds going to his charity. He will also create its artistic holiday window display.
Christian has since sued Barneys, saying he was accused of fraud after using his debut card to buy a $349 Ferragamo belt in April. Philips filed an intent to sue after she was stopped by detectives outside of the story when she bought a $2,500 Celine handbag in February.
Barneys said on Thursday that it had hired a civil rights expert to review its procedures. CEO Mark Lee offered his "sincere regret and deepest apologies." Kristen John Foy, an official with Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network, said he would meet with officials tomorrow to talk about the claims.
Jay Z has called for the boycott of labels in the past believed to be racist. He has also become more political as he campaigned for President Barack Obama and spoke out on the killing of Trayvon Martin.
On Saturday, Sharpton held a rally in Harlem saying black New Yorkers should put shopping at the story "on hold" if they don't respond properly. Some of his African-American supporters said they've been profiled in other stores. One, a 51-year-old man named Shane Lee, said that he went to Bergdorf Goodman to buy shirts last year and they wouldn't help him. He said: "Instead of helping me, they were staring at me. I felt so uncomfortable that I just left."
On Friday, Rob Brown, an actor on HBO's Treme, said he was stopped because of his race while stopping at Macy's Manhattan store. He said he was held for an hour by police on June 8 after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud. He is currently suing. Macy's said they were investigating the claims.