Photo: Courtesy of Barneys.
After Barneys New York was accused of some pretty blatant racial profiling of customers who committed the terrible, heinous crime of being black, the world was waiting to see how Jay Z would respond. Today, Mr. Carter released a statement that he will indeed continue with a previously planned collaboration collection with the store. But, that doesn't mean he's taking all this lightly.
You can read the full statement on the next page, however, we will pull out some highlights for your convenience. Hov says that he and his team have been in contact with the New York State Attorney General regarding the investigation of Barneys (as well as Macy's), and that while awaiting the Attorney General's findings on the matter, he has "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."
He intends to take the matter "into [his] own hands," recognizing that he is "in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue." If you're of the opinion that a celebrity's word is only good if money and mouths are within the same vicinity, well, rest assured. The collaboration was originally intended to donate 25 percent of sales to the Shawn Carter Foundation; now, Jay Z and Barneys have come to an agreement that will in fact donate 100 percent of the proceeds.
This collection "has always been about giving," Carter said. Though it does not make any specific reference to race in its mission statement, The Shawn Carter Foundation provides scholarship money to help "individuals facing socio-economic hardships further their education at institutions of higher learning." This money may be used for tuition as well as books, fees, travel, and basic living expenses.
Many critics were shouting for Jay Z to get out of bed with Barneys altogether. However, while he may well hold moral principles close to his heart and proudly champion those causes, he's a pretty savvy businessman, so that was never likely. What's more, with the collection due out on November 20, he was probably tightly locked into contract. This seems like a reasonable, but still bold, approach that, hopefully, sends the right message. (Complex)
Read the full official statement on the next page.
Jay Z's official statement on the issue:
"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