Shawn “Jay Z” Carter finally responded to the allegations of racial profiling two black customers by his new partner Barneys on Saturday stating he was being unfairly "demonized" and "denounced" for just waiting to hear all the facts.
But in the exhaustingly long 10 paragraph statement the rapper missed a few key points.
First, in 2013, Barneys had logged more than 50 calls to the NYPD alleging credit card fraud against specific individuals.
The store’s allegations produced a total of only 11 arrests, according to the police department, strongly suggesting that Barneys has overwhelmingly been siccing cops on consumers baselessly judged to have been criminals. How many were white, black or other? Neither the police nor Barneys will say.
Second, after three days of silence, Carter issued a statement that portrayed him — and not Barneys arrestees Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips — as the wronged party. Not once mentioning Christian or Phillips by name and addressing their personal humiliation or arrests.
Christian was accused of fraud after using his debit card to buy a $349 Ferragamo belt in April. Philips filed a notice of claim saying she would sue after she was stopped by detectives outside the store when she bought a $2,500 Celine handbag in February.
"I move and speak based on facts and not emotion," the statement said. "I haven't made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys."
Rather than stop there and shut up, the rap mogul when on to ask "Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?" he said, referring to local newspaper headlines.
And although the former Brooklyn drug dealer is now one of the most recognizable and prominent entertainment superstars in the world, the star has come under fire before for his questionable actions. Jay Z was investigated earlier this year by the U.S. Treasury Department for a "vacation" to Cuba that is illegal without special US government permission. His "Occupy All Streets" T-shirt was a little too similar to "Occupy Wall Street" and he was also criticized for only patronizing the Trayvon Martin rally and not utilizing his platform for greater impact.
"I am against discrimination of any kind but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it's towards, aren't I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?" he asked. "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."
The statement has not been well received and its easy to see why.
There is now an online petition calling for Carter to end his partnership with the high-end retailer. Al Sharpton held a rally at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, saying black New Yorkers should put shopping at Barneys "on hold" if the retailer's response is inadequate.
Carter stated that 25 percent of all sells will go directly to the Shawn Carter Foundation, and quoted "not making a dime" from working with Barneys.
The exclusive items range from a $70 T-shirt to a $33,000 watch. Normal college students and young adults may not all be out of reach but it certainly does narrow his market and therefore diminishes the original purpose for his charity. But Carter stands by his decision.
"This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning," he said. "My idea was born out of creativity and charity... not profit."
The cops who arrested Christian has since apologized, and the department store has launched an Internal Affairs investigation also hiring a civil rights lawyer to review its current actions and policies. But as far as Jay Z goes he is still set to launch his limited-edition clothing line with the retailer on Nov. 20th.
As a celebrity it is not his role to speak up for every person or injustice made. But as what point do you as a human being take a stand?
Sources: AP, NY Daily News
Photo: NY Daily News
Tags: Celebrities, Chicago, Chicago Entertainment Reporter LaShonda Matlock, Chicagonow, Chicagonow.com, Entertainment, Entertainment News, Gossip, Hollywood, Jay Z Barneys. Jay Z, Kayla Phillips, Pop Buzz!, Pop Culture, Trayon Christian