Earlier this month, Branded Business reported the collaboration between Barney’s and music mogul Jay-Z to create a holiday line, since then the controversy has been non-stop. After that report, Barneys New York has been in the media for racially profiling two African-Americans for buying high-end products, in which the store assumed they could not afford and stole.
Due to the fact that prior to this report Jay-Z announced his collaboration with the store, there has been an immediate brand association and the media has been on pins and needles waiting for his statement. Not only does he have an affiliation with Barneys, but also the Trayvon Martin case, where he marched with the Martins and Al Sharpton advocating for justice in that highly profiled case that also deals with race. With those two associations, people are wondering how can Jay-Z advocate for justice in one case and then stand with a brand who racially profiles in another case?
The rap mogul with heavy ties to the African-American community and has admitted to being profiled himself, felt the pressure and broke his silence. The weekend, Jay-Z released a statement on his website Life & Times.
He clears up the allegations that he is making any money off the collection by stating ” I am not making a dime from this collection; I do not stand to make millions, as falsely reported. I need to make that fact crystal clear. The Shawn Carter Foundation is the beneficiary and the foundation is receiving 25% of all sales from the collaboration.” He goes on to say, “My idea was born out of creativity and charity… not profit.”
In conclusion, Jay-Z adds “I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgement, no matter who it’s towards, 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.”
It is commendable that Jay-Z did not choose to hide and let this blow over, but confronted the situation head by releasing a statement on his own media outlet. In addition, it is also admirable to know that this deal is not based on profits and the goal is to help others.However, if Jay-Z does go through with the Barneys collaboration, what will it do to his brand? How will his fans feel? Will he be considered a sell out among the African-American community? Although the goal is for the proceeds is to help economically deprived individuals achieve a higher education, but what if consumers decide not to purchase anything from this collection, because of the circumstances? If people do not purchase, but then it negates the whole purpose to help others. All things to think about. Hopefully, Jay-Z will come out of this controversy gracefully and makes a smart decision for everyone.