By Jhanelle Rivera, Editor in Chief
“It’s all black; I love us,” Jay-Z raps in “Murder to Excellence,” referring to his community. However, where is the interpersonal affection? If that is how he feels, it is ironic that he refuses to break ties with luxury retail store Barneys, after numerous accounts of racial profiling against blacks.
Shawn Carter, publicly known as Jay- Z, exhibited his promotion from Dope dealer chic to entrepreneur through his collaboration with high-end fashion designers such as Balenciaga, Alexander Wang and Hublot, creating a collection called “A New York Holiday.” Exclusively sold at Barneys, the items range from a $70 T-shirt to a watch priced at $33,900, according to ABC News.
Launching Nov. 20, the collection will donate 25 percent of each purchase to the non-profit Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides scholarships to less fortunate high school graduates. Jay- Z received the rare opportunity to design his own line while getting a tax write off. If he is so concerned with youth’s well-being, he would drop this deal after national media news has reported the story of two young Barneys customers, Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, discriminated against in the store.
Christian, who was detained, and Phillips, who was physically attacked by police officers, were both accused of purchasing garments with a phony credit card. For Jay-Z to stand by Barneys after these widely reported incidents, which have been followed by a slew of other similar reports, is appalling. After all, the 43-year-old shares three things in common with these victims: They’re all New York natives, they all have dark complexions and they have all been the victims of racial profiling.
“I am no stranger to being profiled, and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position,” said Jay-Z in a statement on lifeandtimes.com. He went on to state his intention to continue with the deal and that he doesn’t “act on emotion” but facts.
This is a far different tune than Jay-Z was singing in 2006 when the CEO of champagne Cristal, Louis Roederer, made a public statement about his displeasure with the luxury drink being mentioned in hip-hop music: “We can’t forbid people from buying it,” Roederer said.
“I used to drink Cristal, them fuckers racist,” Jay-Z rapped on his 2010 single, “On To The Next One.” He also began refusing to serve Cristal at his 40/40 club in Manhattan. Jay-Z wanted to be an activist then, but he is letting down the black community when it needs him to stand up for it most. Take a stand, Jay, and put your money where your mouth is.