About a month ago, we learned that rapper and fashion mogul Jay-Z was the most recent person chosen to collaborate with Barneys New York on their annual holiday collection, which Hova claimed would embody the “slickness, energy and innovation of New York City.” Since then, a lot has happened in the world of Barneys—the upscale retailer is under major media fire after accusations of racism surfaced last week.
In the past week, two young black shoppers have spoken out against the store chain after they were allegedly accosted by Barneys salespersons for buying high-end items at the store. 19-year-old Trayon Christian claims he was then handcuffed and thrown in a jail cell, as officers asked how he could afford such an expensive accessory. 21-year-old Kayla Philipps also spoke out against the store and the NYPD.
Considering that Jay-Z himself was long the victim of police discrimination in New York because of the color of his skin, it’s understandable that some find it contradictory for him to be affiliated with a brand accused of discrimination. A petition has been organized on Change.org asking the rapper to step away from his forthcoming project with Barneys. At press time, the petition has more than 1,800 signatures.
Barneys has released a new statement in response to the allegations, which representatives from the brand claim are completely false. Check it out below.
It’s clear Barneys is taking the right approach in confronting the allegations head-on, while also reviewing their current company practices. Considering their pro-active approach to the issue, it’s possible that the whole controversy will disappear in a week.
What do you think of the whole situation? Should Jay-Z part ways with Barneys, or is this controversy making a mountain out of a mole hill?