Rapper and businessman Jay Z has been copping a lot of shit for not coming out against current collaborator, high-end retailer Barneys New York, for a recent racial profiling controversy. A young black male, Trayvon Christian, purchased a Salvatore Ferragamo belt at the department store and was allegedly pursued and arrested on suspicion of conducting a fraudulent transaction.
With some pretty high profile racial discrimination cases coming to light this year in the US, the community was decidedly angered by this, with many calling for a boycott of the luxury store; including from Shawn Carter, whose Holiday capsule collection with them is just about to drop.
Keeping quiet up until now – while “waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys” – Jay has finally released a statement via Life + Times in response to the ongoing pressure from his fans and the community.
It’s no surprise that Hov is automatically runs the diplomatic line, and then the obvious defensive tip, maintaining that his “idea was born out of creativity and charity… not profit”. Read: he’s probably not going to sever ties with Barneys any time soon.
“I have been working with my team ever since the situation was brought to my attention to get to the bottom of these incidents and at the same time find a solution that doesn’t harm all those that stand to benefit from this collaboration.”
And judging by a lot of the comments in response to this statement, on Life + Times and other new sites, not everyone is convinced. But I guess as a highly successful and wealthy celebrity, issuing a remotely reasonable statement about a highly sensitive social issue to a disaffected community, you’re just asking for trouble. Stay tuned, as I’m sure this hot topic will not disappear quickly.
Read the full written statement here.