In the wake of revelations that Barneys New York had engaged in racial profiling of black customers shopping at the store, Jay Z—who's releasing a holiday collection with the store on November 20—had previously issued a statement that basically amounted to "I'm looking into it." Later revelations found that the store had indeed changed their security policies, and as a result, disporportionately targeted black shoppers.
Well, Hov has now weighed in on the matter, in a post to Life + Times. Basically, he's keeping the collection with Barneys, and it will launch as planned.
But there are caveats. Jay brokered one hell of a deal:
- According to the press release, Jay's going to have a leadership role and a seat on a council "specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling."
- As opposed to the 25% of the proceeds Jay's charity was going to get from the collection, Jay negotiated a deal with Barneys where, now, 100% of the proceeds from the collection will now go to Jay's charity, The Shawn Carter Foundation.
- The Shawn Carter Foundation will also recieve 10% of all sales from Barneys New York and Barneys.com on November 20, when his collection drops.
This sounds like the kind of deal one brokers when they have the opposing side in a sling. It's also savvy as hell. Jay wins on all sides of this—good press on one end, charity money on the other, and he gets a fashion line to go forward—but cynicism about Jay Z's motives aside, if all that money really is going to charity, and not, say, Barneys pockets, there are far worse outcomes.
The entire statement—including Jay's assertion that he's in contact with the New York State Attorney General's office, which, not a sentence we ever thought we'd read in this lifetime—right here:
In the past several weeks two separate investigations were launched as a result of the wrongful detention of Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips. My team has been privy to the status of the Barneys third party consultant investigation. In continuing our research, we also contacted the New York State Attorney General’s office for the status of their investigation into both Barneys and Macy’s. Those findings are not yet available.
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.
As I previously stated, the collaboration with Barneys has always been about giving and The Shawn Carter Foundation. From this collection, the Foundation will receive not only 25% of sales, it will now receive the additional 75% of Barneys’ sales, totalling 100% of all sales from BNY SCC. Along with 100% of sales from the collaboration, the Foundation will receive an additional 10% of all retail sales from Barneys New York stores nationwide and Barneys.com on November 20th. - Shawn “JAY Z” Carter