Reverend Al Sharpton has come forward to show support toward rap mogul Jay Z over the backlash he has received for not immediately ending a business partnership with high-end clothing company Barneys this week.
Despite mounted pressure and criticism toward Hov, the iconic civil rights leader said people should first take aim at Barneys before trying to bring down Jigga.
Speaking to reporters at his National Action Network offices, Sharpton vowed to put shopping at Barneys “on hold” if store execs didn’t have an acceptable plan for ending discrimination when his NAN reps meet with them on Tuesday. As for Jay Z — who is due to debut a clothing line at the chain next month — Sharpton did not join in the rising social media clamor for the rapper to pull out of the deal. Jay-Z released a statement on his website Saturday saying he isn’t “making a dime” off his work with Barneys. “Some people want to make this about Jay-Z,” Sharpton said. “No, this is about Barneys first.” Sharpton is accusing the store of “colluding” with the NYPD to harass minority shoppers just for making pricey purchases. “What is the collusion between the NYPD and your security that four blocks away from the store, the NYPD stops somebody that bought something in your store?” Sharpton asked. “We call 911 and can’t get no response. Somebody spent over two grand, and you pick them up four blocks later.” (New York Post)
Jigga released a statement this weekend and questioned 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)
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)