Over the past few days, Barneys flagship store in New York has come under fire after reports of two separate incidents in which two young African American consumers claim they were racially profiled and then questioned by the NYPD as suspects of credit card fraud after making large dollar purchases at the Madison Ave store.
As reported by the NY Daily News, due to the claims of Barney’s racial profiling, the masses have come down on Jay-Z for his new partnership with the store to release his holiday collection, “A New York Holiday,” and called for him to cancel it over the discrimination.
The same people angry at Hov for his collaboration also put social media sites in frenzy while launching an online petition at change.org demanding the rapper to cancel his partnership with Barney’s New York
The petition, which has nearly 15,000 signatures as of press time reads:
Right as Jay Z prepares to roll out a new partnership with Barneys New York for the holiday shopping season, I’ve been disappointed to hear new allegations about how the retailer treats young black consumers.
Recently, we have learned the shocking news that a young college student Trayon Christian (a black male) was arrested in NYC after making a $350 purchase at Barneys New York. According to The Post, following his purchase, he was stopped by police officers, allegedly called by a Barneys sales clerk, who believed the transaction was fraudulent. After hours being held in a precinct cell, Trayon was released with no charges.
Just days later, Kayla Phillips, a 21-year-old black woman, came forward with her similar story of discrimination. Kayla says that she was surrounded by police and questioned after she purchased a handbag from the store. She was also incorrectly accused of using a fraudulent card.
We can no longer tolerate blatant prejudice and discrimination. It is clear that the minority buying power is devalued by some. We must withdraw support to those who will not support us.
I’ve been a lifelong Jay Z fan. Jay Z is currently in partnership with Barneys New York for the release of his holiday collection — called “A New York Holiday” (or BNY SCC). Barneys lacks any connection with the black and hip-hop community. And without his vast wealth and brand power, they would see him the same as they see Trayon Christian. Jay Z should be appalled by Barneys actions, and withdraw all support from them. If he does this, he will send a clear message to all corporations that are likeminded, that this behavior cannot be tolerated any longer.
Please join me in calling on Jay Z to withdraw his support from Barneys New York because of this discrimination.
As a result of the heat he’s been taking, Jay-Z released a statement on his collaboration with Barney’s and fired back at his critics:
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.
Jay-Z has no plans to end his partnership with Barney’s, and his “A New York Holiday” collection is set to drop in stores on November 20th.