Facing heat after two customers accused Barneys of racial profiling ahead of his holiday collection's launch, Jay-Z asked the public to wait while he works on a solution. Late Friday, Hov announced the deal brokered with the upscale retailer that allows his collection to go forward. The new agreement with Barneys is undisputedly another victory for the Marcy-to-Madison Square rapper and, most importantly, his Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.
Through a statement released on his Life+Times website, Jay-Z announced Barneys will now donate 100 percent of the proceeds from A New York Holiday, a Christmas collection of luxury items, will now go to the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation. Perviously only 25 percent of the proceeds were to be donated to Hov's charity, which provides scholarships to underprivileged youth. Jay-Z also announced ten percent of all sales made through Barneys.com and Barneys New York on November 20, the day his new collection drops, will be donated to his charity.
The deal was allowed to move forward on one condition: that Jay-Z take a "leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling," according to Jay-Z's statement. Charges of profiling skyrocketed after a change in the store's policy, according to a New York Times report, after the retailer hired a new security team to fight a recent rash of thefts. The new council will reconsider and revise Barneys' current security policies. "The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem," he said. "I am choosing to take this head on."
As The Wire explained, it was always unlikely Jay-Z would drop a deal with Barneys potentially worth millions for his charity. And, no matter how jaded and cynical you are about Jay-Z's musical output or motives at this point, the deal was always about the charity. The rapper explained in his initial statement how a knee-jerk reaction would solve nothing. "This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning," Jay said. "I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?" he added later.