*It’s not what he would have preferred, but Jay Z, under relentless pressure to end his association with luxury retailer Barneys New York, which is accused of racial profiling, has finally spoken out.
Basically Jay Z says he was waiting to respond after he got the full understanding of what went down. Saturday, in a posting at his website, he complained that he was being unfairly “demonized” for just waiting to hear all of the facts.
The Jigga man is under fire for not speaking out 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.
But as we reported, a petition at change.org as well as tweets from fans are in effect … calling on Jay Z – whose real name is Shawn Carter – to pull the plug on his upcoming partnership with Barneys for the holiday season, which will have the store selling items by top designers, inspired by Jay-Z, with some of the proceeds going to his charity. He is also working with the store to create its artistic holiday window display.
Here is Jay Z’s response and defense:
“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?” That was a reference to local/NYC newspaper headlines.
Jay-Z said 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.
Jay Z reminded folks that he’s not profiting from the collaboration. A percentage – 25 percent – of the funds derived from the venture – will go to his Shawn Carter Foundation which provides college scholarships to economically challenged students
“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 he 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.”
In other news regarding Barneys, on Saturday, Rev. Al Sharpton held a rally at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, saying black New Yorkers should put shopping at Barneys “on hold” if their response is inadequate.
Read/learn more at Black Voices.