Published Oct 27, 2013As recently reported, rap mogul Jay Z has teamed up with New York department store Barneys to release a new line of clothing under the title "A New York Holiday." Since then, the high-end chain has been accused of racial profiling, resulting in fans urging Jay to boycott the company. Now, Jay Z has released a statement about the matter.
Earlier this week, two black shoppers alleged that they were questioned by police under the assumption they had stolen something after making expensive purchases at the store. The controversy spurred a petition for Jay Z to pull out of his relationship with the company, while the company has hired a civil rights expert to analyze their internal policies in an effort to save face.
The critique that Jay Z stands to profit from a company allegedly involved with racial profiling has caused the rapper to issue a statement on his website. In addition to admitting that he's hesitant to respond to the criticism until he knows all the facts, Jay Z also pointed out that the line will offer twenty-five percent of sales will go to the Shawn Carter Foundation, "a New York-based charity which awards post-secondary scholarships to students facing socio-economic hardships."
Read Jay Z's statement in its entirety below:
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 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
Jay Z's collaboration with Barneys will be sold at the Barneys New York and Shawn Corey Carter Gallery starting November 20.