Jay-Z has reportedly purchased a painting by the late Manhattan artist Jean-Michel Basquiat for $4.5 million (£2.78 million).
The 1982 artwork, entitled ‘Mecca’, recently sold at a Sotheby’s auction in Manhattan last week. The orange, white and black acrylic and oil-stick work features the Empire State Building under a trademark Basquiat crown. The New York Post reports that the rapper was the anonymous buyer who snapped up the painting.
Jay Z has long been a fan of Basquiat, who died in 1988 after a heroin overdose, and has referenced the late graffiti artist several times in his lyrics. The painting, ‘Charles the First’, was the basis for his 2010 song ‘Most Kingz’, opening with the lyrics: Inspired by Basquiat, my chariot’s on fire.
Meanwhile, the rapper recently released a second statement defending his partnership with department store Barneys. They were accused of profiling black shoppers after customers, Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, said that they were detained by police after buying designer goods in the shop. They are both suing the department store.
In an open letter published on his own website Life + Times, the rapper stated: “While I await the findings of the Attorney General’s Office, I have agreed to move forward with the launch of BNY SCC collection under the condition that I have a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling.”
He continued: “I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others. I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward. I am choosing to take this head on.”