Jay Z is doing everything he can to hold onto his potentially highly lucrative collaboration with Barney’s, even after the hoity-toity department store came under fire for two racial profiling incidents in the last month. Many has encouraged Jay Z to bow out of the deal, including Vogue‘s Andre Leon Talley, who told The New York Times, “Any African-American, male or female, with any consciousness of what has happened would not go into Barneys right now … for the simplicity of making a broad statement I would pull out.” But Jay isn’t budging. Instead, he and Barney’s announced that 100 percent of the proceeds from the BNY SCC collection will go to the rapper’s Shawn Carter Foundation, instead of the original 25 percent. Also, on launch day, an additional 10 percent of the proceeds store-wide will also be donated. And, to directly address the store’s terrible recent history of racially profiling and detaining Black youths who the store assumes can’t pay for their high-end goods, Jay will sit on a special committee to “deal” with the issue. Wrote Jay on his website:
While I await the findings of the Attorney General’s office, I have agreed to move forward with the launch of BNY SCC collection under the condition that I have a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling. 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.
My favorite morning radio show — Hot 97 Morning Show WHAT UP — discussed the topic this AM and I have to agree with host Peter Rosenberg, who said ultimately, Jay’s approach to this is no different than the average politician, making concessions to get that dough. I don’t know that I really believe Jay is going to take that much time out of his life to really be involved in addressing Barney’s racist issues internally, and ultimately, his decision to say he is only comes because he buckled under pressure from activists who want him to ditch the collab entirely. Ultimately, if Barney’s does change its ways, it’s going to be because of the attention called to the incidents by activists, not Jay Z’s mealy-mouthed attempts to preserve his business deal while still pretending to be a man of the people. [Racked; NY Times]