Jay-Z has been getting a lot of crap in the past few days for not speaking out about his deal with Barneys New York after the upscale store was accused of racism not once, but twice this month.
The rapper, whose real name is Shawn Carter, has a collection in the works with Barneys that will sell everything from $60 tee shirts to a watch that costs more than your average car ($33,900). A portion of the sales will go toward Jay-Z’s charity, which provides scholarships to needy students.
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Meanwhile, Tayon Christian filed a suit against Barneys on October 11, for racial profiling. He says that police stopped him last April immediately after purchasing an expensive Ferragamo belt, and accused him of making “a fraudulent purchase with an unauthorized card.”
After Christian came forward with his suit, another customer, Kayla Phillips, filed notice that she intends to sue for an incident last February when she says she was unfairly profiled after buying an expensive purse.
Barneys maintains that they had nothing to do with any interaction other than the sales themselves, and they’re conducting a thorough investigation into the matter.
But you know how high tensions can get when the racism alarm is pulled. It could be legit, or it could be a false alarm -- these are just allegations at this point. Which is why I think Jay-Z is absolutely doing the right thing to let things sit for a bit before jumping to any conclusions.
Not everyone feels that way though, as fans have started petitions and used social media sites to beg him to pull out of his deal. Jay-Z posted a statement on his website yesterday defending his decision to not immediately withdraw from the Barneys deal.
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 … 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 am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, 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.
Can I get a slow clap please? Bravo to Jay-Z for standing his ground and not making any hasty decisions about his involvement with Barneys before all the facts come to light.
Do you think Jay-Z is doing the right thing, or should he pull out of this deal immediately?
Image via Edward Le Poulin/Corbis