Thursday, October 31, 2013

Barneys’ racial profiling case gets more complicated for Jay Z: New York Attorney General investigating

Does anybody--anybody?--do anything on principle anymore? Jay Z has more than enough money. (In 2012, Forbes estimated Carter's net worth at nearly $500 million.) But is making even more money more important to him than making the US a better place for everyone? He could use his wealth and celebrity to accomplish something of real value, but it appears that his narcissism may have gotten in the way.

He complains that he was demonized for not speaking out quickly. Good heavens, Jay Z. It's not that complicated. See this post if you need help understanding the situation.]

And why isn't Barneys New York in trouble for making false police reports?

Shawn Carter aka Jay Z: End all partnerships with Barneys New York
By Derick Bowers
Brooklyn, New York

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.

Recently, we have learned the shocking news that a young college student Trayon Christian (a black male) was arrested in NYC after making a $350 purchase at Barneys New York. According to The Post, following his purchase, he was stopped by police officers, allegedly called by a Barneys sales clerk, who believed the transaction was fraudulent. After being held in a precinct cell, Trayon was released with no charges.

Just days later, Kayla Phillips, a 21-year-old black woman, came forward with her similar story of discrimination. Kayla says that she was surrounded by police and questioned after she purchased a handbag from the store. She was also incorrectly accused of using a fraudulent card.

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.

Please join me in calling on Jay Z to withdraw his support from Barneys New York because of this discrimination.

Sign Derick's Petition

Barneys’ racial profiling case gets more complicated for Jay Z: New York Attorney General investigating
By The Reliable Source: Roxanne Roberts with Emily Yahr
Washington Post
October 29, 2013

Jay Z’s big promotional deal with Barneys got more complicated this week, when New York state’s Attorney General opened an investigation into charges of racial profiling at the luxury retailer, Al Sharpton met with the CEO of the store, and Brooklyn pastor Clint Miller planned a picket in New York Wednesday.

Sharpton said he had a “candid” meeting Tuesday with CEO Mark Lee at the activist’s National Action Network office in Harlem. On the room: Hazel Dukes, president of the New York chapter of the NAACP, former Gov. David Paterson, other civil rights leaders, pastors and elected officials, reports CBS New York. But no sign of Jay Z.

The superstar mogul is at the center of a growing controversy about race and money — aka “shopping while black”– sparked when Barneys and Macy’s both came under fire last week for racial profiling African-Americans purchasing high-end items. Jay Z has a holiday promotion deal with Barneys and has been pressured by fans — using Twitter and an online petition — to sever ties with the store.

“I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys,” he said in a statement posted on his website Saturday. “Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?”

The partnership with Barneys included sales of products by top designers “inspired by Jay Z” with a portion going to his Shawn Carter Foundation, and his involvement in creating its holiday window displays. He said erroneous news reports and “attacks on my character, intentions and the spirit of this collaboration” forced him into addressing the issue before he was ready.

The facts so far: Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips said they were stopped by police after buying expensive items from Barneys Manhattan store. After Christian purchased a $349 Ferragamo belt in April, he was followed by two undercover officers, accused of debit card fraud, then handcuffed and detained at the police station, reports New York’s Daily News. Phillips said she was stopped by detectives after buying a $2,500 Celine handbag in February. CEO Mark Lee offered his “sincere regret and deepest apologies,” but Christian has sued the store and NYPD.

Last week, two shoppers made similar complaints about shopping at Macy’s, including “Treme” actor Rob Brown who claims he was handcuffed and held after he bought a $1,350 gold Movado watch for his mother.

New York’s attorney general sent letters to Barney’s and Macy’s asking for their policies for stopping, detaining and questioning customers based on race, reports the Daily News. The stores have until Wednesday to comply.

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