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Jay Z Finally Addresses Barneys Backlash, Collaboration

Jay Z
Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images

Jay Z has finally responded to the controversy surrounding his involvement with retailer Barneys after three black shoppers came forward this past week claiming they were racially profiled by police after shopping in the luxury department store. The rap mogul issued a statement Saturday (Oct. 26), through his website Life+Times, denouncing the negative criticism on his delayed response regarding the issue.

In his statement, Hov wanted to make it clear that he doesn’t stand to make millions off his “A New York Holiday” collaboration with Barneys. In fact, 25 percent of the proceeds will go to the Shawn Carter Foundation in addition to a donation from Barneys.

“This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning,” he states. “My idea was born out of creativity and charity…not profit.”

Jay Z then took aim at the media for their erroneous reporting and explained why he has been silent during the brouhaha.

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

The ‘Magna Carta’ rapper is referring to the New York Daily News, who placed him on the cover of the newspaper with the snarky headline “Zero Respect.”

A Change.org petition calling for Jay Z to end his partnership with Barneys has reached over 13,000 signatures so far. In addition, Rev. Al Sharpton will reportedly meet with Barneys executives on Tuesday (Oct. 29) to discuss the racial profiling allegations.

Here’s Jay Z’s statement in its entirety:

This collaboration lives in a place of giving and is about the Foundation. 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, 10% of all sales generated in the store on November 20th and an additional donation from Barneys. This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning. My idea was born out of creativity and charity… not profit.

I move and speak based on facts and not emotion. I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys. Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately? The negligent, erroneous reports and attacks on my character, intentions, and the spirit of this collaboration have forced me into a statement I didn’t want to make without the full facts. Making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project, wouldn’t hurt Barneys or Shawn Carter, but all the people that stand a chance at higher education. I have been working with my team ever since the situation was brought to my attention to get to the bottom of these incidents and at the same time find a solution that doesn’t harm all those that stand to benefit from this collaboration.

I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, 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. — Shawn “JAY Z” Carter

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