Barneys New York has been accused of racially profiling black shoppers, which puts their new business partner Jay Z in kind of an awkward position, as reporters have noted. "Well, yeah, not as awkward a position as sitting handcuffed in the back of a police car wearing the $300 belt you just bought," Jon Stewart said. "But in his defense, Jay Z's down. He's the guy who protested the Zimmerman verdict for being racist, he boycotted the Grammys for being racist, he even boycotted wine for being racist."
But this time around Jay Z hasn't come down against Barneys, and Senior Black Correspondent Larry Wilmore explained why: "Jay Z doesn't care about black people," he said, playing the Kanye to Stewart's Mike Myers. "He doesn't care about black people who want him to boycott Barneys, and I don't blame him Jon." Jay Z has a multimillion dollar brand to protect, Wilmore noted, and it's not like he's Al Sharpton. "And, by the way America," he added, "you can't tell brothers to pull up their pants and then arrest us when we try to buy a belt."
Times have changed, after all. "I know Jay Z use to be a ground breaking rapper," Wilmore said. "But now he's a rapper who shows up at ground breakings." In the picture to the right you can see Jay Z with Mayor Bloomberg, "burying his remains of his street cred," as Wilmore put it. And, in a way, this is a moment to celebrate. "White people have been watching their music icons sell out to corporations for decades," Wilmore said. "It's the American Dream and we're finally achieving it. You go Jay Z Penney!" So, he added, the next time we see Jay Z brush his shoulders off, it might just be for his new dandruff shampoo endorsement: He's got 99 Problems, but Scalp Itch Ain't One.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.