Friday, October 25, 2013

[CELEB NEWS]: Jay Z Pressured To Cut Bridges With Barneys NY After Profiling Incident

Jay Z, if you were the young black guy from Marcy before the fame, would you be allowed to walk in Barneys New York?

That’s the question many are asking today, after Barneys was involved in not one, but two profiling incidents involving African-Americans. Earlier this week, a 19-year-old college student was approached by police, and arrested after he bought a $349 Ferragamo belt from the department store. According to the kid, named Trayon Christian, he spotted the belt on Juelz Santana and saved up his money from his part-time job so that he could purchase it, however, after he bought the belt from Barneys, the store clerk called police and told them that he didn’t look as though he could afford it. Trayon was questioned by detectives, who believed he may have used a fraudulent card and ID, and he even spent a few hours in jail until police verified that all of his info was correct and he was later let go. He has since returned the belt to the store and filed a lawsuit.

After Trayon’s story made its rounds in the press, a 21-year-old black woman named Kayla Phillips came forward and said that she too was stopped by NYPD shortly after purchasing a $2,500 CĂ©line bag from the store back in February. Kayla had just opened up a bank account with her tax return and used a temporary Bank of America debit card that did not have her name on it, which made the store clerk suspicious. After she was approached by cops and roughed up on the streets, she was eventually able to show them a new card, bearing her name which had arrived in the mail, and was let go.

Now, what does this have to do with Jay Z you may ask.

Just weeks ago, it was announced that Jay had partnered with Barneys to release a limited edition holiday line, with 25 percent of the proceeds going towards the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.

After both profiling incidents hit the news, a petition was created, lobbying for Jay to dissociate himself with a brand that has been accused of discriminating against black shoppers. According to the petition:

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

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.

Folks also took to Twitter to voice their disgust with the recent stories while voicing their concerns on Jay Z co-signing the brand:

Jay Z has 99 problems but should Barneys be one of them?

This is a tough situation and here’s why. High end stores are targeted by boosters and people who may have fraudulent IDs and credit cards often. For every 1-2 people that they’ve incorrectly profiled out of suspicion, there’s no telling how many more were involved in wrongdoing, and now people who look like Kayla and Trayon have to pay for it, which isn’t fair. But who’s to blame? Is it Barneys? And if so, it’s time for us to stop spending money there. Should Jay Z send a bigger message and cut his ties with the department store? The way things are looking, a huge portion of his audience wouldn’t be able to walk in the department store and browse his collection comfortably without being followed around or feeling as though they are not welcomed in the store.


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