The hip hop mogul said he made the deal under the condition he has a leadership role on a council tasked with the issue of racial profiling. Jay Z promises all of the proceeds will go to his scholarship fund, the Shawn Carter Foundation.
Jay Z turned a public relations nightmare into a shrewd business move days before his Barneys collaboration is set to launch — vowing to confront allegations of racial profiling “head on.”The savvy singer issued a carefully crafted statement Friday, five days ahead of the unveiling of his fashion collection at the department store, which is being investigated, along with Macy’s, on allegations that African-American customers were profiled.
“I have agreed to move forward with the launch of (the Barneys New York Shawn Corey Carter) 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,” said Jay Z, whose given name is Shawn Carter.
Jay Z has promised 100% of the proceeds, instead of the original 25%, from BNY SCC will go to the Shawn Carter Foundation. The foundation, which provides educational opportunities to youth in need, will also receive 10% of all retail sales from Barneys stores and online after the Wednesday launch.
“I am in a unique position to use my voice to (e)ffect change to this disturbing issue,” said the artist who hails from the Marcy Houses in Brooklyn.
Jay Z’s legal team has also reached out to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office to open a dialogue about its probes into Macy’s and Barneys, a source close to the investigation confirmed to the Daily News. The probes are “active and ongoing.”
The music mogul had stayed mum on the disturbing allegations, which surfaced last month, when The News confronted him on tour in Sweden on Oct. 25. His rep didn’t allow him to answer any questions about Trayon Christian, 19, who claims he was detained by cops after buying a $349 Ferragamo belt, or Kayla Phillips, 21, who says she was harassed by cops after buying a $2,500 handbag.
Since The News broke the story on Oct. 22, shoppers including actor Rob Brown and trainer Art Palmer complained they also encountered discrimination, “shopping while black,” at Macy’s.
Jay Z issued a self-serving statement on Oct. 26.
“Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?” he whined.
That initial silence cost the 43-year-old rapper credibility among people who thought he should use his star power to make a strong anti-profiling statement and quit the Barneys deal. It culminated in a joke-laced rebuke on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.”
“The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem,” Jay Z said. “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.”
The City Council is holding a hearing Wednesday to address “shop-and-frisk” allegations, and major retailers will gather Friday to discuss the issue.
Kirsten John Foy, president of the National Action Network’s Brooklyn chapter, praised Jay Z on Friday.
“We are happy to see Mr. Carter demonstrate leadership on this issue,” said Foy. “We believe that this can only advance the cause of ending shop and frisk and retail racial profiling.”
But many News readers slammed Jay Z’s long-awaited response as too little, too late.
“Dude is a sellout,” wrote Ismael Anthony Sanabria Jr. “Didn’t say anything a month ago and now he wants to say something about it.”
With Ginger Adams Otis. Culled from the New York Daily News.