Major retailers like Barneys and Macy’s are accused of profiling black shoppers who say they were detained by police after buying luxury items as New York’s “shop-and-frisk” row continues to escalate. Two Barneys customers, Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, said last week that they were detained by police after buying designer goods in the shop. They are both suing the department store.
Jay Z has faced mounting pressure to back out of his collaboration with Barneys with fans tweeting the rapper and an online petition circulating calling on him to withdraw his association with the store. This Christmas, the store is due to sell items by designers inspired by Jay Z with the proceeds going to his charity. He is also working with the store to create its holiday window display. His original statement said he is “not making a dime” from the collaboration.
In a new open letter published on his own website Life + Times, the rapper states: “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.”
It was previously reported that 25% of all sales from his collaboration with Barneys would be donated to his own organisation, The Shawn Carter Foundation. It has now been announced that the rapper will contribute all sales to the foundation.