The seemingly innocuous topic of Jay Z’s limited edition holiday collection in collaboration with Barneys turned rife with controversy in the past few weeks after the upscale NYC department store was accused of two separate racial profiling incidents in the last month alone. Everyone from Jon Stewart to Andre Leon Talley criticized the hip-hop mogul’s decision to go forth with the high-profile partnership, even after he announced that 100 percent of the proceeds from the collection would go to his Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation for low-income students. Keep reading »
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.
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Perhaps there will be justice for Renisha McBride after all. Detroit prosecutors have officially decided to charge Theodore P. Wafer, 54 (above left), with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old McBride. The young women knocked on Wafer’s door the evening of November 2nd, likely looking for help after she allegedly got in a car wreck neary. Wafer claimed that he thought McBride, who is Black, was an intruder, and shot her in the face as she stood on his front porch. Wafer is also charged with possession of a firearm during the attempted commission of a felony or commission of a felony. Prosecutors say there was not enough evidence to back up Wafer’s claim of self-defense. [AP]
Update: This evening there is a rally for Renisha McBride in Dearborn, Michigan. Details at the link. [Clutch Magazine]
Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old Detroit woman, was shot and killed early Saturday morning in an incident her family says was racial profiling.
According to police, McBride’s car broke down in the neighborhood of Dearborn Heights, Michigan. She went up to a house, presumably asking for help because her cell phone battery had died. Instead, a 50-something man at the home pulled out his shotgun and killed McBride, a Black woman, on the front porch. Keep reading »
Last week, the mainstream media suddenly remembered racial profiling exists after a series of high-profile incidents in New York City. Unconnected to each other (as far as I know), several young Black people came forward about having been detained by police after shopping in department stores after they were accused of not reeeeally being able to afford the pricy items they bought.
Two were college students who were detained after they shopped at Barney’s, one for buying a Ferragamo belt and another for buying a handbag; another was actor Robert Brown from “Finding Forrester” and the TV show “Treme,” who was detained after he shopped at Macy’s. (He has subsequently filed a lawsuit against them.) Even male supermodel Tyson Beckford spoke up about being racially profiled and “followed all the time, any time I go to a store,” including Barney’s.
In response, Barney’s agreed last week [third item] to meet with civil rights leaders to discuss the allegations of racial profiling. However, many folks were waiting on Jay Z, who sells a high-end collabortion through the store, to respond. He also became a target last week of a Change.org petition with over 16,000 signatures asking him to end his partnership with the store.
This weekend, Hova finally released a statement, although it is perhaps not what everyone would have liked to hear. Keep reading »
Racial profiling — it’s so in this season!
On April 29th, Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old from Queens, New York, got paid from his work-study job at New York City College of Technology, so he decided to go shopping. The teen made his way to Barney’s New York, an upscale department store on tony Madison Avenue, to buy a belt he’d seen on a favorite rapper. The Ferragamo belt cost $349, which he paid for with his debit card and showed his ID, as per usual when you pay with debit. Happy with his new belt, Christian left the store with his purchase … only to be stopped by two New York Police Department officers, accusing him of using a fake card. Keep reading »
If you live in New York City, or if you’ve ever paid a visit to the fair metro during a Jewish holiday, there’s a good chance you’ve witnessed this fairly common practice: an Orthodox Jewish man, or perhaps two or three, dressed in traditional garb, stands on a street corner, asking select passersby if they’re Jewish. More often than not, they are — New York, for whatever reason, attracts a high concentration of Jews all over the spectrum, from the unobserving reform to the extremely religious Hasidic.
Having lived, worked, and otherwise existed in Manhattan and Brooklyn for the past few years means I have been called on my heritage by these guys (“mitzvah campaigners,” to be proper) many, many times. I’m never surprised, because although I’m only half Jewish, my dad’s Russian genes are hella dominant — I have thick, dark hair, dark almond-shaped eyes, fair but not freckled skin, and a prominent nose. Y’all have seen me. These features, in conjunction, add up to what any Orthodox Jew on the corner of Bedford Avenue would call a safe bet to shake the lulav during Sukkot. (Sorry guys, I’m in a rush.) But I’ve seen them also make some pretty damn good calls on Jews that, well, don’t look as obviously Ashkenazi as I do. Keep reading »
As I sit in my living room, the familiar sound of rotating blades of a helicopter whoosh above me. I can hear them, hovering. They’re following the Oakland protestors who have taken to the streets outraged by the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman. “No justice, no peace,” they shout as they embark on a mile-long march for justice. This custom is a byproduct Oakland’s long legacy of dissent. To outsiders signs that say “Fuck The Police” seem entirely unrelated to the trial, but the relationship between the department of justice and local law enforcement is one that Oaklanders understand very well.
Like Oakland, the rest of the country is in mourning. People everywhere are trying to reconcile how no one is being held accountable for the untimely death of a teenage boy. We’ve taken to the streets, the Internet, to church and community, but one thing that social media has made apparent is that we’re mourning for very different reasons.
For many, we mourn because this case crystallizes how the legal system does not provide equal protection of the laws for everyone. Some mourn because the not guilty verdict means Martin’s parents will not be vindicated in their son’s death. Others mourn because another young boy of color was robbed of his life and it could have just as easily been their son. And of course, some don’t mourn at all — the death of a black boy is insignificant to their life. Keep reading »