Why Jay Z Won’t Talk About It

by Mattie Kahn
October 31, 2013
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Jay Z responds without responding to the most recent case of racial profiling to plague the city

jayz

Oh, sure. We’re pretty fond of each other, but the truth is you all are our favorite contributors to The Man Repeller. Really! We’ve formalized that fact with “Let’s Talk About It.” This weekly column is a forum for conversation, communication, and complete distraction from the jobs you’re supposed to be doing right now. So get involved. We promise we won’t tell your bosses.

It’s not even November, but Jay Z is already feeling the strain of the holiday season.

Ever since a pair of lawsuits accused Barneys New York of specifically discriminating against black shoppers, the rapper has faced an onslaught of pressure to pull out of his high-profile Christmastime collaboration with the luxury retailer.

The potentially damning details came to light two weeks ago when Trayon Christian claimed police wrongly detained him on his way out of Barneys’ Madison Avenue flagship this past April. The nineteen-year-old’s purportedly suspicious activity? The allegation that he purchased a $349 Ferragamo belt with a “fake debit card.” Days later, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips sued the department store on similar grounds. According to the nursing student, four undercover cops accused her of fraud after she left the same Madison Avenue location with a $2,500 Céline bag. In both cases, police reportedly wanted to know just how the duo managed to afford such expensive items.

For its part, Barneys has adamantly denied allegations that its salespeople called the police on Christian and Phillips. Not only did the company’s Facebook page address the situation in asserting its “zero tolerance for any form of discrimination” and “long history in support of all human rights,” but company CEO Mark Lee also said the following on the retailer’s behalf: “We believe that no Barneys employees were involved in those incidents. No one from Barneys brought them to the attention of our internal security and no one from Barneys reached out to external authorities.”

Of course, Barneys’ declaration of innocence did little to quiet an outraged public. Over the weekend, Jay Z attempted to speak to the outcry in publishing a personal testimony on his website. The icon wrote:

I move and speak based on facts and not emotion. I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys. Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately? . . . I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap [judgments] . . . aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles? I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change.

Politicians, take note. This is what tact looks like.

In his expert handling, Jay Z raises a perhaps unsurprisingly nuanced point. The purported racial profiling isn’t the only example of discrimination up for discussion. Of equal relevance is the question that asks whether Jay Z himself is being unfairly targeted. Meaning: would another celebrity be subject to the same scrutiny under these circumstances? Is arguing that Jay Z has a different responsibility as an African-American its own kind of bias?

As the rapper himself implies — whether or not the department store is culpable in these instances is far less important than the renewed attention that the charges bring to a very uncomfortable subject.

Let’s talk about it. (After all, Jay Z asked us to.)

REPLIES
  • Madeline

    I definitely think that expecting Jay-Z to have an opinion that could possibly financially inhibit him is an example of racial profiling in itself. Are non-black people supposed to be less disgusted? Why do we expect black people to become figureheads of their whole race?

    • Curvily NYC

      Agreed. Moreover, why is the onus only on Jay-Z to pull his line? No one else is being asked to shoulder financial losses by pulling their products from Barney’s.

    • Beauty Wilson

      How is Jay-Z having an opinion abt this matter racial profiling in itself?

      The fact of the matter is everyone should be appalled by racial profiling that happen in all stores. However, on a larger scale, entertainers have to be extra sensitive on who they align their brands with because of these very reasons. Imagine…a black man from the hood, makes his way to success through hip hop, marries a pop star, starts a family, has several business ventures and then partners with a luxury store that has an ongoing reputation of making a certain demographic feel less than comfortable shopping at their store… Jay-Z was (and still is to many )apart of that same demographic that you say he shouldn’t become the figurehead to represent.

      I really wish people like you could understand what it takes to truly live a post-racial society. Until we talk and stand up together for continuous mistreatment whether black or white, the racial tensions in America will continue to soar. But I wouldn’t expect you to understand that because race probably doesn’t interfere with your life.

      • Madeline

        For the purposes of its inquiry, the Commission’s definition for “racial profiling” is any action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection, that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin, or a combination of these, rather than on a reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment.

        This is one definition of racial profiling. While he’s not perhaps being pulled over by the cops, Jay-Z is subject to greater scrutiny for his actions in opposition to his fellow peers on fashion. While he has benefitted from his roots, he isn’t going to stop racial profiling by pulling from Barney’s, especially when it is difficult to know if it was Barney’s or the police that was the culprit. My only point is that Jay-Z shouldn’t have to be an activist simply because he’s a black designer. Obviously we disagree.

        On another note, I think it’s rich that someone talking about people having to unite together while simultaneously making assumptions with the phrase “people like you”.

        • Beauty Wilson

          Yea, “people like you” will never understand or see the urgency to have to stand together because why would you? Your race that you just happen to be born in doesn’t play a part in your life in hindering you in any way. And yea, I assumed, but was I wrong?

          You say, Jay-Z would face
          “greater scrutiny” for pulling out of this deal…. And there lies my point…Jay-Z is not a designer…he’s a business man who is looking to collaborate w/ bigger name to 1) expand his brand 2) raise $ for his charity. Whether he is saying this or not, but what Jay – Z is also doing is redefining the way Black People from his socio-economic background are perceived in this very much white world. The example he makes would be that if he can make this big luxury brand partner for a bigger cause, close to his heart to fight a continuous issue in the US (ghettos, under privilege, working class, etc) than a young black boy coming after him can make bigger strides to receiving equal treatment for black ppl, in general. Did he elect himself the activist for that very movement, no…But, unfortunately that is the responsibility of social figures sometimes, especially in our community.

          Me saying that I wouldn’t expect you to get that isn’t to be rude, its just cognizant that this is not your experience in life. Without giving you a history lesson on blk ppl (that you probably already know), but we are still rebuilding our community from over 500 years of enslavement to no reparations, many civil rights mistreatments, broken families and internal struggles to fit in a country that enslaved us and didn’t want us here when we were freed, so while there are issues in every race/culture, we probably have the most work to do, quite frankly. The only way we’d rebuild this in my opinion is if white people stopped acting like it never happened, and we have conversations, like this, regularly.

          Background on me, I am a black woman, w/ a bunch of white friends and we debate this all of the time. Don’t worry, it’s healthy.

          • Cattifer

            You make some really good points here. I think it’s good that this has drawn attention to racial profiling.

            Did it happen at Barney’s? It sure sounds like it. Unfortunately, it also sounds like we may never learn the truth because it will probably be the word of Barney’s employees against the customers’.

            However, if there is enough pressure, maybe this store will train the employees better. Maybe other stores will take note too.

          • Elizabeth

            “Yea, ‘people like you’ will never understand or see the urgency to have to stand together because why would you? Your race that you just happen to be born in doesn’t play a part in your life in hindering you in any way. And yea, I assumed, but was I wrong?”

            This is why people never want to enter into debates about race. It so quickly becomes white vs. black with phrases like “people like you” and “your race”. You don’t know my race anymore than I know yours. You don’t know what it’s like being white anymore than I know what it is to be black. And anytime someone disagrees with you, you chalk it up to white privilege.

            “Until we talk and stand up together for continuous mistreatment whether black or white, the racial tensions in America will continue to soar.”

            I want this too. But unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to happen for a long time. I know I don’t feel like we can have an honest conversation about race. No, I feel like anything I say can and will be used against me.

          • Aylea

            “Your race that you just happen to be born in doesn’t play a part in your life in hindering you in any way.” This is completely untrue, your race, your ethnicity, your class and even your religious background have huge impacts on your life and can serve as obstacles. Everyone has opportunity, but not everyone has equal opportunity. We live in a ‘White Man’s World’, and to be more precise it is a ‘White Upper class Man’s World’ so there are immediate obstacles in place when you are; not white, not male, and working or underclass. Furthermore, racial profiling is set up so that the world stays a ‘White Man’s World’; the ideology of black people being, poor, thieves, criminal’s, pimps, gangsters and uneducated was set up to discriminate, separate, and is untrue, however due the ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ some black people live up to the negative stereotypes.

            You talk about having a honest conversation about race but I feel that you are not ready or capable of doing this due your lack of ability to defend your race and erase any blame for the source of racism, racial profiling and discrimination. Your correct this is not about ‘Black’ or ‘White’ (not only because this are not the only races in the world) but because that this is about looking at the dishonesty and inequality of society. However, exploring the dishonesty and inequality of society, means venturing into the racism and the cause of racism.

            However, maneuvering back to my original point I find it highly insulting for you to say suggest everybody is treated equally regarding race and ethnicity. I completely agree with standing up together ‘for continuous mistreatment whether black or white’, I don’t support racism and discrimination to anybody and in any circumstance, and I think by saying ‘people like you’ and ‘your race’ does automatically barriers, however I think in a honest conversation about race this is natural to happen, and it isn’t always an attack, but then again it isn’t always nessacry.

          • Elizabeth

            You’re using quotes from the person I was replying to and considering them my own words. I didn’t say “Your race that you just happen to be born in doesn’t play a part in your life in hindering you in any way”, Beauty Wilson did and she was referring to white people in general.

            “[Y]our race, your ethnicity, your class and even your religious background have huge impacts on your life and can serve as obstacles.”

            I agree.

            “Everyone has opportunity, but not everyone has equal opportunity. We live in a ‘White Man’s World’, and to be more precise it is a ‘White Upper class Man’s World’ so there are immediate obstacles in place when you are; not white, not male, and working or underclass.”

            For the most part, I agree with you here as well.

            “Furthermore, racial profiling is set up so that the world stays a ‘White Man’s World’; the ideology of black people being, poor, thieves, criminal’s, pimps, gangsters and uneducated was set up to discriminate, separate, and is untrue, however due the
            ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ some black people live up to the negative stereotypes.”

            We disagree here. NOT that I think the negative stereotype is true, I don’t. At all. But I don’t believe racial profiling is “set up” to keep the world a “white man’s world.” There are many opportunities (usually educational ones) open specifically (sometimes only) to minorities. That isn’t to say that black people (and other minorities) don’t face obstacles, it’s just to say that I don’t think there are very many people who are actively trying to keep it a “White Man’s World”. In fact, there are many people who are actively trying to promote anyone who isn’t white.

            “Your correct this is not about ‘Black’ or ‘White’ (not only because this are not the only races in the world)…”

            Clearly black and white are not the only races in the world. To imply that I’m considering racism to be only a black vs. white issue is petty. I have only placed it in that context because that is what we have been talking about.

            “You talk about having a honest conversation about race but I feel that you are not ready or capable of doing this due your lack of ability to defend your race and erase any blame for the source of racism, racial profiling and discrimination.”

            I don’t know what you mean when you say “defend your race”. Defend what? Or what you mean when you say “erase any blame for the source of racism…”

            “However, maneuvering back to my original point I find it highly insulting for you to say suggest everybody is treated equally regarding race and ethnicity.”

            Again, you’re referring to words that aren’t mine and, in addition, are taken out of context.

            “I completely agree with standing up together ‘for continuous mistreatment whether black or white’, I don’t support racism and discrimination to anybody and in any circumstance, and I think by saying ‘people like you’ and ‘your race’ does automatically barriers, however I think in a honest conversation about race this is natural to happen, and it isn’t always an attack, but then again it isn’t always nessacry.”

            I agree, there are times where it’s necessary. My main frustration is that it is most often when dismissing people and that’s what was happening with the original poster.

          • Aylea

            Sorry, I did misunderstand you and it appears that overall we agree with each other, but it was not clear that most of what you wrote was a quote. I was not suggesting that you as an individual only consider “black vs white” when talking about racism but, people in general.

            Also, when I said that racial profiling is ‘set up’ I am not referring to the present day but the past, when there was segregation, and blatant everyday racism. Also, I do believe that these stereotypes are prolonged, however non-intentionally, and by more than one party. However, I agree with you and I am aware of educational programmes, workshops and events that are created to support people with less opportunity, however the people who want to create change and help people are small in the bigger picture of society, although every little helps.

          • Elizabeth

            I’m glad we can agree on some important points and have a reasonable discussion about the rest. It’s not something you see on the internet very often.

            I think we agree on the main goal (eliminating racism) but I think we see where we are, and how to achieve that goal, very differently. However, I hope over the next years and decades, we continue to find more common ground.

          • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

            I know a man with no limbs who is a successful speaker. I know a woman, blind as a child, treated horribly in the school system and at home, who at one point thought suicide was her only option, who has become a successful author. I met David Pelzer, the man who was classified as the worst case of child abuse in California history, who wrote a series of riveting books. The list goes on. There is no bitterness in these people. They don’t blame others or even their own horrible circumstances. They persevered through INTENSE obstacles, deprivation and abuse. Blaming anyone, much less an entire race of people for your problems, is at best useless and at worst, grossly self indulgent.

          • NinjaCate

            Because there are no amputee, abused or blind PoC!

          • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

            Please let me know where I stated, or even inferred that there are “no amputee, abused or blind PoC!” Your reply appears to be a deliberate misinterpretation and has no relevance to my point, which is: There are many people whose lives are more painful,traumatic, hopeless, and obstacle filled than you could possibly imagine, yet they lead successful lives without blaming others for their problems, the trauma they’ve endured, or the obstacles they face.

          • NinjaCate

            And my point is that your perspective is painfully white and not at all intersectional. Yes there are people who are blind or amputees etc who lead difficult lives. But there are people who are blind or amputees who are also minorities, and because of this country’s refusal to acknowledge the difficult intersection of race, have it HARDER than their white counterparts. Race is an additional oppression, not an alternative one.

            Your comment about “not blaming others for their problems” pretty clearly indicates that you have zero understanding of critical race theory. People do not lead single issue lives. To reduce them to single issue problems is to do them a disservice. Go read some bell hooks or some Audre Lorde.

          • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

            Painfully white or painfully accurate? How does blaming white people for your challenges, which you imperiously deem to be more important than anyone else’s, change your circumstances or improve the lives of anyone in your community? Since you don’t KNOW everyone else’s life, how could you possibly determine that YOU have it harder? Even the heavily skewed CRT does not rely solely on race as a determining factor, other factors include sex, class, national origin and sexual orientation, so that reference is off.If you feel better reading books that reinforce your perceived oppression, help you cling to historical injustices, and amp up your self-righteous indignation in blaming whites for everything that happens in your life, then go for it. Just don’t expect the rest of the world to join you.

          • NinjaCate

            Lol at “perceived oppression.” It’s not at ALL as though minorities have suffered systematic inequality, genocide, slavery, discrimination and disenfranchisement. I COMPLETELY just made up the last 300 years of America’s recorded history.

            Honey, quit while you’re ahead. Or don’t I guess. Either way, you’ve already said enough to let me know that continuing with you is pointless because you’re still stuck in the “I don’t know that I don’t know” phase. It amuses me that people still think it’s logical to believe that something doesn’t exist simply because one hasn’t personally experienced it. That’s how privilege works I guess…

          • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

            Is that another deliberate misinterpretation? Nobody’s debating that it never existed, but you seem to want to cling to oppressions of the past, define your entire race by it, and play the blame game, rather than move on and make a positive impact, which NOBODY in this day and age, is holding you back from doing. All humans have limitations, hardships and obstacles- yours are DIFFERENT. You wouldn’t know what it’s like to be a mother raising an autistic child, you wouldn’t know the chaos and daily fight or flight of a child growing up with a violent schizophrenic parent or sibling.You wouldn’t know what it’s like to be a teen who is bullied to death by classmates. There are many horrendous life experiences that you’ve never had to go through personally, so the “white ppl don’t know what it’s like, they’re privileged” can be applied in equal measure to you, by your own apparent definition of “privilege”.

        • Kim P.

          Yeah well, I can’t speak for Beauty Wilson but “people like you” could also refer to the fact that she has explained the implications of his actions, yet, you still insist on defending your ignorance towards the reality of the situation… :/

          “unity- an entity that is a complex or systematic whole.”

          We must complexify things, not simplify them and easily resorting to “agreeing to disagree.” A debate is pointless, disjointed, and damn right stupid if no one is listening to one another. Not justifying the upset undertone of Beauty Wilson’s comment, but if you were listening and engaged in a dialogue, you’d probably be a bit more sensitive as to why she’s reacting this way. As a black woman, and I am speaking for myself here, these conversations just gets tiring after a while.

    • Kim P.

      Because they’re under-represented that’s why. When something happens in the black community, because they aren’t in a position to speak on it themselves, they often look to those who are in higher positions, those who can. That’s just a burden many white people don’t have to carry because they are often the beneficiaries of, or simply unaffected by many things. That wasn’t me stating an opinion on whether or not it’s right, just me letting you know why it happens. Of course it isn’t so black and white- no pun intended. But it is a reality that often holds true.

  • jenn

    Jay Z is a business man not a social activist. this is annoying.

    • Rebecca Gross

      Isn’t it every human’s obligation to be the shell of a social activist?

    • http://jaymiranda.com/ Jay Miranda

      He’s not a businessman, he’s a business, man!

      • EMR

        I seriously died laughing. This is one of the best comments of all time.

  • FactChecker

    “The fact that he purchased a $349 Ferragamo belt with a fake debit card.” There is no fact that the debit card was fake, there was an assumption that it was stolen. Facts and assumptions are not one in the same. Please be more careful to fact check and proofread before posting.

    • Mattie Kahn

      Oof, sorry! I had deliberately tried to indicate that this was a false allegation in qualifying the charge as “purported” in the previous sentence! Let me see how I can retool that to make its meaning clearer.

      • melkouas

        Yeah, I feel like that line can be edited differently. Barney’s did supposedly “accuse” the young adult of using a fake debit card, but we don’t know all the facts yet. It gives a feeling that we already KNOW it was stolen, when in fact we don’t really know.

        • Amelia Diamond

          It has already been amended, thank you Melkouas! See above.

      • FactChecker

        Apology accepted ladies! The rest of the article didn’t convey that ideology, so I figured/hoped it was a typo. I hope I didn’t offend and I’m glad I could help!

    • Amelia Diamond

      Hi FactChecker! As Mattie’s editor on this piece this was my fault as I overlooked “the fact that” as a figure of speech. You are right, and changes have been made. Thank you!

  • rachel

    if jay zs line was out already and trayon and kayla were incorrectly accused of fraud with something from his collection, then i could better understand why people were looking to jay z to make a statement. but it seems that they are just looking for drama by getting jay z involved!

    on the other end of the spectrum, people look to jay z as a leader, and if he’s affiliated with something controversial even by 6 degrees of separation then i can see how they expect him to comment.

    but no matter what i agree that he deserves time to think about whatever it is he wants to say and shouldn’t be expected to make a snap judgement. many have gotten into trouble that way and he is being smart. i like how you say “this is what tact looks like.” it is.

  • http://www.EatStylePlay.com/ Eat.Style.Play

    I think the important thing to remember is that Jay’s collaboration will positivitly affect a whole lot of people of color not just black go to school when they can’t afford it. I’m sure this a major part of why he isn’t going to just pull out this isn’t about him just making money. I assume that maybe everything is already in place and maybe it’s too late to pull out. Then he also could just be a business man and assume that maybe a few bad apple at Barneys were racially profiling and not following Barneys beliefs.

    I still think that Barneys needs to accept that someone did in fact have these people detained and questioned because of their person “belief” of what people who have the right to shop in their stores look like. That young man’s ID and Card matched so at that point they shouldn’t question how they are able to afford it. THis goes back to stereotypes of some employees which might not be the stores beliefs either.

  • marie a

    I don’t think its a bad thing that people would hope he would pull out of the deal, if and when facts say that this was an instance of discrimination. But this hope should be extended to anyone in current dealings with the company- unless they can make a good argument as to why this is not representative of Barneys and that the individual employees who it might possibly be representative of are let go.

  • mgwade

    Until they do a little looking into it, there is no point in Jay-Z doing anything. I am no expert on Barney’s stores, but if these security folks are pouncing the customers blocks away, who knows for sure they are there on behalf of Barney’s? They could be ‘free-lancers.’

    There was ( might still be) a scam running on Interstate 10 in west Texas. Cops in a couple of small towns would pull people over for nothing, then threaten them with all kinds of trouble, from charging them with drug running to just holding them in scary jails all weekend. They got completely innocent people to give up money, cars, all kind of crap just to stay out of uncertain hell.

    Could it be that someone is ‘profiling’ the people exiting Barney’s with shopping bags for the folks they think are easiest to scare into giving up money or goods?

    Yes, someone is screwing with them, it just might not be Barney’s.

  • Hope Varnedoe

    Innocent until proven guilty. Just because someone “claims” something happened doesn’t mean it happened. Sadly in today’s day and age people are not always honest and do things for attention, for their 15 minutes of fame, or just to cause trouble. I’m not saying this is the case here but we don’t KNOW all we know is what Barneys is ‘accused’ of. If evidence comes out to verify that these two individuals were treated this way and profiled as they claim, then I think Jay-Z would be wise to withdraw his support of Barneys.

    For now, I really Jay-Z is being wise and handling this in a very tactful manner. I also think it’s wrong for anyone to attack him.

    • NinjaCate

      Ah, yes. Because being racially profiled is a minor inconvenience!

      • Hope Varnedoe

        i think racial profiling is wrong. period. if it is proved they were indeed profiled and mistreated i hope their lawsuits against Barneys are successful.

  • diane

    Have you ever been to a Barneys store, especially the NYC flagship? Their staff makes everyone feel unwelcome and unworthy!

  • TheFashionistaK

    I am going to keep this debate simple, Jay-z called in 2006 the boycott of the champagne company Cristal for asking to rappers to stop mentionning their company names because they didn’t want to be associated with the BLACK BLINGBLING LIFESTYLE. Now that he is making money, he thinks that he can get away with not supporting his community in a racial profiling case when half of his 2000′s songs WERE about being racially profiled?… uhh no!!! We ALL REMEMBER where he came from. We were the ones who were listening to his music when they didn’t want to put his singles on the radio. He owes his community that therefore he should ABSOLUTELY pull out, no questions about it. (Amazing article by the way)

    • fishy

      “its funny how money change a situation.” also, this entire story’s a bit fishy. someone called the police accusing the customer of using a fake debit card but barney’s is saying no one from their company made the call. so…. another customer made the call? the bank? please.

  • Rose

    I’m sorry, but whoever said it WAS Barney’s who called the cops? Has anyone stopped and thought about the fact that the police could have seen their shopping bags and done a little racial profiling of their own?

  • http://www.fancyalterego.wordpress.com/ Heather P.

    He has every right to wait until more information comes to light before making any statement or decision. I’m guessing if he’s partnering up with Barney’s, then it’s a lot of money he’ll be walking away from if he chooses to. It’s not a decision anyone should take lightly, even Hova.

    He’s smarter than most, calmer than most, and far more seasoned in the art of tact than most. And for that, I think whatever he decides to do will be just fine…whenever he’s ready to do so.

  • NubianRadiance

    Although everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the matter is a simple one- what do the police records say, what are the facts? I applaud and agree with Sean Carter in his handling of the situation. We must, however be mindful that profiling and prejudice are rampant in high-end retail (recall Oprah’s denial at Hermes, O-P-R-A-H). This prevalent marginalization and discrimination is especially sad given the fundamental contribution to American culture Blacks make regularly (from jersey dresses by Mr. Burrows to hip hop most recently). As a young, black professional (lawyer), and fashion enthusiast, I only ask my peers to acknowledge the contributions of my culture and the onslaughts by our larger society.

  • Maggie

    Man. It would have been nice if the political leaders of the Cuban Missile Crisis would have taken Jay-Z’s attitude.

  • JewYork

    THIS WEEK CAN WE TALK ABOUT TODAY”S FRONT PAGE OF THE POST? (NOV 5th 2013. Being an orthodox Jewish woman and being unable to get a Get. Would love to hear your input on social issues as a Jewish woman. You’re a leader for many young women, and just “talking about it” may shed new light. thanks :)

  • The Civilian

    Such a good read! <3 you Hov!!!

    http://thecivilianlife.com

  • http://www.actsoffaithblog.com Acts Of Faith Blog

    Jay-Z is not an icon and this article is already biased in supporting him. How about calling him out on his hypocrisy. He’s an unrepentant drug dealer and racio-misogynist promoting derogatory music for “cred” – who makes a lot of money for other people behind the scenes who’ve used him as their conduit into money-making ventures. He has had plenty to say other times, like when he blasted the makers of Cristal as racist because they didn’t want their brand associated with thuggery. So when it’s his money on the line and a partnership with Barney’s – that would likely encourage MORE black people to go shop at the store – he has nothing to say? Of course blacks are racially profiled in retail stores. This isn’t new. And we’re not post-racial by any means. If people here can’t be challenged on their assumptions and people come to some sort of agreement what do you expect for in-person interactions?

    • guest

      great point! He went hard at cristal and another brand, and spoke right away! and he made sure the company felt it. But maybe its the maturity in him saying let me get details first… or the business man not wanting to lose business!

  • shells

    Is Jayz being held to a standard that he should react to what happened… yes! Along with all African American public figures. The reality of it is, when an African American does something not pleasing in the public eye, then society then holds every other black person to that action. So yes he and all of public figures need to be aware of the brands and companies they align themselves with. If Jayz didn’t have the millions, and was a regular man, TRUST, the same thing would have happened to him that day in Barney’s. It has happened to me so many times in the LV, Chanel, I can’t count. So you decide as a person of color, either continue to shop there and say, “that’s the way it is”, or you say something. Unfortunately, most just say nothing and continue to give these retailers their money. Barney’s is not the first, and won’t be the last, I would love to see different. I say thumbs of to Jay for waiting for full details, you can’t jump to a conclusion. But this is everyday life, and just because the President looks like me does not mean, I won’t get followed the next time I enter the Chanel Store. :) i rambled enough ;/

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