Jay Z Releases Statement on Barneys Controversy & Says He Feels He’s Being Demonized
By: Amanda Anderson-Niles
Rapper and business man Jay Z has found himself in the middle of controversy now that the retailer he partnered with (Barneys) for a Holiday collection is under fire for allegedly racially profiling two African Americans after they made expensive purchases from the store. Fans are calling for him to drop his deal with Barneys and take a stand on behalf of those who are fed up with racial profiling, and there’s even an online petition growing in signatures calling for Jay Z to denounce his affiliation. Jay didn’t say a word about it when he was asked to comment about the incident by reporters the other day, but he later took to his website sometime yesterday to release an official statement on the matter. In the statement, the rapper claims that he never stood to make a dime from the deal and the money that was projected to be made from the items sold was supposed to go to the Sean Carter Foundation:
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.
Jay Z also says that he doesn’t want to be swift to make a decision and cut ties with the retailer until he gets all the facts first. He also asked why he is being demonized by the media:
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.
Despite not making a decision just yet, he did reiterate that he is against discrimination of all kinds. He also points out that he feels him jumping to conclusions without all the facts makes him no better than the NYPD officers and Barneys staff who jumped to conclusions and assumed blacks were making expensive purchases with fake credit cards and arrested them without proof that a crime had been committed:
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. – Shawn “JAY Z” Carter
What do you think about Jay Z’s statement? Did he make valid points or did he miss the mark?
In related news, Rev. Al Sharpton is coming to Jay Z’s defense and he tells the press that Jay Z should not be the focus of the outrage:
“Some people want to make this about Jay Z. No, this is about Barneys first.”