Jay Z And His Ties With Barneys After Racial Profiling
[Necole Bitchie] Jay-Z, if you were the young black guy from Marcy before the fame, would you be allowed to walk in Barneys New York?
That’s the question many are asking today, after Barney’s was involved in not one, but two profiling incidents involving African-Americans. Earlier this week, a 19-year-old college student was approached by police, and arrested after he bought a $320 Ferragamo belt from the department store. According to the kid, name Trayon Christian, he spotted the belt on Juelz Santana and saved up his money from his part time job so that he could purchase it, however, after he bought the belt from Barneys, the store clerk called police and told them that he didn’t look as though he could afford it. Trayon was questioned by detectives who believed he may have used a fraudulent card and ID, and he even spent a few hours in jail until police verified that all of his info was correct and he was later let go. He has since returned the belt to the store and filed a lawsuit.
After Trayon’s story made it’s rounds in the press, a 21-year-old black woman name Kaya Phillips came forward and said that she too was stopped by NYPD shortly after purchasing a $2,500 Celine bag from the store back in February.
Now, what does this have to do with Jay Z you may ask.
Just weeks ago, it was announced that Jay had partnered with Barneys to release a limited edition holiday line, with 25% of the proceeds going towards the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.
After both profiling incidents hit the news, a change.org petition was created, lobbying for Jay to dissociated himself with a brand that has been accused of discriminating against black shoppers. According to the petition:
Right as Jay Z prepares to roll out a new partnership with Barneys New York for the holiday shopping season, I’ve been disappointed to hear new allegations about how the retailer treats young black consumers
We can no longer tolerate blatant prejudice and discrimination. It is clear that the minority buying power is devalued by some. We must withdraw support to those who will not support us.
I’ve been a lifelong Jay Z fan. Jay Z is currently in partnership with Barneys New York for the release of his holiday collection — called “A New York Holiday” (or BNY SCC). Barneys lacks any connection with the black and hip-hop community. And without his vast wealth and brand power, they would see him the same as they see Trayon Christian. Jay Z should be appalled by Barneys actions, and withdraw all support from them. If he does this, he will send a clear message to all corporations that are likeminded, that this behavior cannot be tolerated any longer.
Jay Z has 99 problems but should Barneys be one of them?
This is a tough situation and here’s why. High end stores are targeted by boosters and people who may have fraudulent IDs and credit cards often. For every 1-2 people that they’ve incorrectly profiled out of suspicion, there’s no telling how many more were involved in wrongdoing, and now people who look like Kayla and Trayon have to pay for it, which isn’t exactly fair. But who’s to blame? Is it Barneys? And if so, should Jay Z cut his ties with the department store? The way things are looking, a huge portion of his audience wouldn’t be able to walk in the department store and browse his collection without being followed around or feeling as though they are not welcomed in the store.
If you believe that Jay Z should definitely cut his ties with the department store immediately, make sure you sign the petition over at Change.org.