Jay Z‘s ties with Barneys New York has come under fire thanks to two individuals coming forward in the past week claiming they were racially profiled by police after shopping in the luxury department store. This evening (Oct. 26), the rapper/mogul issued a statement chastising and questioning the motives of those who were quick to denounce his alliance with the retail store without knowing all the facts surrounding the situation.
The “Picasso Baby” rapper opens his statement by reiterating that his teaming with Barneys for the “A New York Holiday” collection was not for profit but for charity. As was glossed over by many, the proceeds of the high end collection will go to the Shawn Carter Foundation which in turn will provide scholarships for needy students.
Jay Z also explained the reason for his silence was because he was waiting for all the facts to be brought to light. Part of the Brooklyn native’s statement reads:
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.
A petition has been creating calling for Jay Z to sever his ties with Barneys that so far has acquired over 13,000 signatures. In separate incidents, Kayla Phillips and Trayon Christian allege they were stopped and questioned by policed (the latter was detained) by police after buying a $2,5oo purse and $350 belt from Barneys, respectively.
Barneys has issued another apology, and says it is investigating the two cases and plans to meet with Civil Right leaders. Part of Barneys’ latest statement reads:
…We are conducting a thorough review of our practices and procedures as they relate to these matters to ensure that they reflect our continued commitment to fairness and equality. To lead this review, we have retained a civil rights expert, Michael Yaki, who also serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Commission has been the nation’s watchdog for civil rights for more than 50 years. Mr. Yaki will be provided with unrestricted access to all aspects of our store operations.
In addition, Barneys New York has reached out to community leaders to begin a dialogue on this important issue.
Read Jay Z’s full statement on the flip.
Photo: Getty/Made In America