Rap mogul Jay Z has finally stepped forward to speak out on the meltdown high-end clothing retailer Barneys is experiencing and their partnership in light of racial profiling accusations this week.
Young Hov opted to release a statement through his personal website instead of speaking to media outlets directly.
Jay-Z — under increasing pressure to back out of a collaboration with the luxury store Barneys New York after it was accused of racially profiling two black customers — said Saturday he’s being unfairly “demonized” for just waiting to hear all of the facts. The rap mogul made his first statement about the controversy in a posting on his website. He has come under fire for remaining silent as news surfaced this week that two young black people said they were profiled by Barneys after they purchased expensive items from their Manhattan store. (Washington Post)
In his statement, Jigga questioned why he was being targeted over the situation.
“I move and speak based on facts and not emotion,” the statement said. “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?” he said, referring to local newspaper headlines. Jay-Z said in this case, he’s still trying to find out what happened –which is why he was silent. “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,” he added. (Boston Herald)
Hovi also denied making big bucks off his Barneys partnership and explained why he would not end the relationship prematurely.
“This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning,” he said. “My idea was born out of creativity and charity… not profit.” Jay-Z said he understood what it felt like to be racially profiled — but also didn’t want to jump to unfair conclusions. “I am against discrimination of any kind but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?” he asked. “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.” (Boston Herald)
Coincidentally, Jigga stayed mum when approached by reporters heading into the weekend.
The suddenly silent rapper couldn’t string two words together Friday when the Daily News confronted him in Sweden about his lucrative deal with Barneys to sell exclusive wares over the holidays. Pressed about the alleged treatment of two black shoppers at the upscale store, he simply stared off into space. “What do you think about what happened at this store … where you are going to put raincoats?” the reporter asked, sticking his head through the open window of a black Mercedes-Benz van when it stopped outside Riche, one of the priciest restaurants in Stockholm. The former hardscrabble hustler from Bed-Stuy ducked his head and looked away while a handler said he wasn’t “allowed” to talk. “He’s not allowed to answer any questions about that,” said the unidentified man sitting next to the rap star. (New York Daily News)
A new petition requests Young Hov to immediately put an end to his relationship with the high-end retailer.
As the accusations of racism against Barneys New York continues to pick up steam following the reveal of a second discrimination lawsuit, the call for action against the company is growing louder. A petition has surfaced on Change.org asking “Shawn Carter a.k.a. Jay-Z” to end all partnerships with Barneys New York. The petition’s creator, Derick Bowers, writes, “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.” (Huffington Post)