Under pressure to back out of a holiday collaboration with Barneys, Jay Z says he’s reserving judgment until he learns more about recent allegations of racial profiling at the high-end New York department store, the rapper wrote in a statement posted on his website over the weekend. The New York Daily News criticized the hip-hop mogul on the front page Friday for not speaking out, writing that Jay Z should drop his arrangement with Barneys or face “Zero Respect.”
“I move and speak based on facts and not emotion,” Jay Z wrote in response. “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 rapper said some proceeds from his partnership with Barneys, which involves creating a holiday collection of limited-edition apparel and accessories, will benefit his Shawn Carter Foundation. The foundation is set to receive 25 percent of all sales from the collaboration, along with 10 percent of all sales in Barneys on November 20th. “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,” Jay Z wrote.
Two black customers recently accused Barneys of racial profiling when police officers detained them after they made expensive purchases at the store. One customer, Trayon Christian, filed suit last week against the store. The CEO of Barneys has apologized and agreed to meet with representatives of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network “to begin a dialogue on this important issue,” the store wrote on Facebook.
Sharpton has defended Jay Z, who said he deplores racial profiling. “I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements [sic], 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.”