Jay Z has decided to move forward with his partnership with Barneys New York, despite high-profile accusations of racial profiling and the ensuing outcries to withdraw his support. “I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue,” he says in a statement.
Following Lady Gaga, Jay Z had curated a limited-edition holiday collection featuring his own designs, with a fourth of the sales going toward his Shawn Carter Foundation. Soon after his announcement, college student Trayvon Christian was arrested at the flagship store after he had purchased a $350 belt, because the sales clerk believed that his purchase was fraudulent. Kayla Phillips then came forward to tell her story of how police had surrounded and questioned her after purchasing a handbag from the same store.
Previously, Jay Z criticized those who pressured him to drop his partnership immediately. (A Change.org petition boasts a choice edit to the Barneys logo, so that it read, “BARNEYS NEW SLAVES.”) “I move and speak based on facts and not emotion,” he said. Meanwhile, the new statement does note that investigations into Christian’s and Phillip’s cases are still ongoing.
The biggest change made is that Jay Z’s foundation will now receive all sales from the collection, plus 10 percent of all retail sales from stores and online. Jay Z also decided to move forward under the condition that he takes on an advising role, on a council specifically made to deal with racial profiling.
“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,” he says.
[via USA Today]
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