Should Jay Z Drop his Collaboration with Barney’s Amid Racial Allegations?

****************** UPDATE***************UPDATE*******************UPDATE

Jay Z broke his silence late last night. And released a pretty lengthy statement on the Barney’s controvbelow on his website. Check the statement below.

I move and speak based on facts and 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?

Jay goes on to write that the only victims in this situation are those that will benefit from his Shawn Carter Foundation.

Making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project, wouldn’t hurt Barneys over Shawn Carter, but all the people that stand a chance at higher education….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 Barney’s

Hmmmm still stand by my comments below…

It seems to be the question of the day on Twitter and Facebook. And the only person who can answer it has been surprisingly mum. Actually, it’s not to shocking given an avalanche of angry tweets directed his way and a we-hate-Barneys-petition circulating over 3,000 signatures urging Jay to sign in black/blue or they’ll hate him too. If not already.

Remember, the flames have just recently been extinguished on his Cuba vacation…

….and now we have this situation. While, no doubt Olivia Pope aka Judy Smith is as-I-type-this “getting it handled.” Let’s backtrack.

In February, a teenager visited Barneys department store in Midtown Manhattan to snag a $300 Ferragamo belt he’s had his eye on. Whips out his debit card. Purchase complete. End of story. Nope, just the beginning. He leaves the store, walks a few blocks and is accosted by police officers that take him “downtown,” and according to Trayon Christian have him wait two hours before his story of legitimately buying the belt checks out.

Rewind to two months ago when 21-year old Kayla Phillips visited the same Barneys Trayon will eventually go to. She purchased a $2,000 Cèline bag. Once again, she makes the purchase and leaves. When she gets to the train station four police officers pepper her with questions, look at her store receipts and ask how could she afford this bag?

Both Trayon and Kayla have pressed charges against Barneys and NYC police department.

Barneys CEO released a statement on Facebook yesterday.

Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable experience described in recent media reports, and we offer our sincere regret and deepest apologies.

Further to our statement of yesterday, we want to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. We are a strong proponent of equal rights and equal treatment for all human beings. Our mission is to ensure that all customers receive the highest-quality service—without exception.

How does Jay add to the mix?

Jay Z has plans to release clothing and jewelry lines called “A New York Holiday” with Barneys in November and help decorate their holiday windows in December.

The items Jay has produced range from $70 to $33,000, according to the New York Daily News. And 25 percent of the money from the line will go towards his Shawn Carter Foundation charity that provides minorities college scholarships.

As enriching as it all sounds–especially the relationship to his charity– I’m still on the fence about Jay dropping the deal.

Why, you may ask?

Because and I quote “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” And as such, Jay looks at the bottom line. Always. Not that integrity isn’t part of his makeup. This showcases it. Yet, this issue pales in comparison to spilled champagne. It’s one that even Oprah struggles with.

Even still,  I seriously doubt two cases of racial discrimination will discourage this millionaire’s club deal. Although I wish it would. It would set a sterling example for his young fans about standing up and walking away instead of chasing the money. As well as his daughter, who some write could easily be Kayla Phillips in 10 or 20 years.

Whatever Jay decides I share Questlove’s sentiments

What do you guys think will Jay pull a Dave Chappelle and run away from the money or stand up and walk away? Do you think he should continue the deal to benefit his Shawn Carter Foundation?

Hit me up below…

Central Park Five & Shawn Carter College Scholarship Foundation

central-park-5

It’s very rare to have a movie stay with you–have its images, dialogue and message tattooed on your brain. For me it’s happened only a few times (and I’m a huuggeee movie fan-action, suspense, horror, romance, independent, etc. you name the genre, I’ll watch it.) the most recent was when I saw “The Central Park Five.” A Ken Burns documentary about five black and latino teenage boys falsely convicted of raping and torturing a white woman in Central Park in the late ’80s. No movie has stirred me like this one, not even Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” and I’m always so livid when Radio Raheem gets murdered at the end.

Despite the similar vein of injustice both films travel down, the big difference is one is scripted and fictional and the other an actual event that my mother remembers reading about in the newspaper as a seven-year-old version of myself was propped on her lap. The Central Park Five is real. It’s documented, not just in news stories but on the faces of these four boys (The fifth boy didn’t want to be filmed in the doc, viewers only heard audio) that rapidly transformed into men while incarcerated, but the anguish of time lost, a childhood not fully realized and abuse by authority, that pain is still visible in their eyes. And justified considering their wrongful conviction lawsuit against New York City remains unsettled.

But what I’m most impressed about was their will to be better. They managed to push past what reporters, cops, lawyers and native New Yorkers’ labeled them as: psychopaths, thugs and a ‘wolf pack’ and plan for an uncertain future. They each completed GED programs that were offered in the prisons. Received high school diplomas. Fast forward Six to 13 years later they are free. Their convictions were vacated in 2003, due to DNA evidence that linked someone else to the crime.

jay-z-carnival-3

When labeled an undesirable it’s never easy to find a new path or someone or something that is willing to pave one. Shawn (Jay Z) Carter wanted to create one. The Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation was conceived in 2002 and its mission is to offer college scholarships to students who have been previously incarcerated but want to rise higher in their educational pursuits. Along with single mothers, students that attend alternative schools, those who earned a GED and have a grade point average of 2.0.

The foundation’s organizers–made up of Jay Z’s mother Gloria Carter, educational workers and community activists, say they highlighted this group of students because they are usually ignored by the Board of Education.

Interested applicants must complete the online application by May 31st 2013. Click here to apply.

Sources:

Bed-Stuy Patch

PBS