Jay-Z caught a lot of flack for not scrapping his Christmas collaboration with Barneys when news broke that the luxury store was being sued for racial profiling after two incidents where black shoppers were stopped and questioned by police merely for purchasing luxury goods. Hova has been quick to condemn companies for racist behavior in the past, so a lot of people considered it hypocritical of him to take a “wait and see” approach only when he has skin in the game.
A few weeks ago he said he was taking his “wait and see” approach because 25 percent of the proceeds from his Barneys collaboration would go to his Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides financial help for economically disadvantaged college students, so if he canceled the project only the kids would be hurt. In another statement released Friday, Jay-Z announced that the collaboration would be going forward as scheduled, but now the Foundation will get all the proceeds from the collaboration. The Shawn Carter foundation will also receive 10 percent of all sales at Barneys stores and on Barneys.com on November 20.
Now there’s no way we think all that money is coming from the goodness of Barneys’ corporate heart. It’s clearly a calculated effort at image rehabilitation. Barneys is well aware that it really stepped in it this time, and throwing money at charities is a time-honored way of begging forgiveness. Money for charity is good, though, it just sucks that Barneys has to be caught doing something super racist in order for this kind of largesse to happen.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Jay-Z announced that he would be taking on “a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling” at Barneys.
I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others. I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward. I am choosing to take this head on.
So Jay-Z is now on the Committee to Teach Barneys to Stop Racial Profiling? We’re not entirely sure what that position will entail besides just shouting, “Stop doing that!” But that’s probably a pretty good start.
Hey, Barneys, stop doing that!