UPDATE: 10/25/13 3:30PM EST
The paparazzi wasted no time trying to get Jay Z to make a comment about where he stands with the recent Barneys controversy when they caught up with the rapper on the Stockholm leg of his MCHG tour.
The 43-year-old music mogul has maintained radio silence all week after news broke that two African-American shoppers said they were racially profiled while buying luxury items at the snooty store.
“Jay Z is not allowed to speak on this matter,” said one of the rapper’s henchmen after a photographer stuck his head in the rapper’s car in Stockholm.
Shawn (Jay Z) Carter sat silently in the back seat of the luxury automobile and didn’t react to the crowd of reporters shouting for answers.
“Jay Z maybe will give an answer when the collection is launched at Barneys,” his companion said.
And we can already determine what that means.
Remember that time Jay Z was urged to cancel tour dates in states that upheld the Stand Your Ground law after George Zimmerman’s acquittal? Keep that in mind while you read this post.
Following the race-related media storm that has hovered over New York-based luxury store Barneys this week, the people are callin’ for a change, and where does change start? Apparently with Jay Z.
This week, both 19-year-old Trayon Christian and 21-year-old Kayla Philipps revealed they were wrongly accosted by the NYPD in two separate incidents after buying high-end items at Barneys. Christian says he was even handcuffed and thrown in a jail cell, while officers asked how he could afford the expensive accessory he purchased.
The stories of horror ignited conversation, individual boycotts, and now a Change.org petition. Derick Bowers, a Brooklyn-based father and entrepreneur, has started a Change.org petition calling on Jay Z — who recently announced a partnership with Barneys on a clothing line called “A New York Holiday” — to sever all ties with Barneys following accusations of racial profiling.
Derick, who is a self-proclaimed Jigga fan, described his reason for the petition, saying:
“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.”
Meanwhile, Barneys has released their first official statement after staying mum on the matter. The company’s PR reps released a statement that read:
Barneys New York typically does not comment on pending litigation. In this instance, we feel compelled to note that after carefully reviewing the incident of last April, it is clear that no employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale. Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights. We are very sorry that any customer of our store would have this experience.
Meanwhile, Jay Z is probably somewhere on tour shining his Audemars Piguet and counting his stacks.
PHOTO CREDIT: Derick Bowers