Should Jay-Z end his partnership with Barney’s?
“I used to drink Cristal, the mof*cker’s racist,
So I switched gold bottles on to that Spade shit.”
-Jay-Z in “On to the Next One”
It’s no secret that Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter likes luxurious brands.
In 2006, the managing director of one of Jay-Z’s most beloved brands; Cristal, made some comments that had a connotation of hip hop’s steady mention of the wine being unwelcomed. Jay-Z was immediately outraged at the brand he had endorsed for so many years even though he had no formal partnership with them. He spoke out against Cristal and has never mentioned their name in the great light he had so many times in his music prior to the incident.
It is 2013 today and Jay-Z has come a long way since then. He continues to show off his advanced business prowess by continually making impressive strategic moves to obtain more of his beloved dead presidents. One of his most notable partnerships is with the luxury retail store in New York called Barney’s. Barney’s has recently been accused of racially profiling two of their African-American customers who had made some expensive purchases. Since then, Barney’s has taken a huge PR hit and has even gotten negative comments from the great Al Sharpton. In addition, waves of Jay-Z fans have sent him thousands of angry tweets as well as signing an online petition in favor of him to end his partnership.
Such behaviour from Barney’s must have received a strong backlash from Jay-Z right? Right?!
Contrarily, he has not spoken against Barney’s and will most likely keep his partnership intact. This may seem like it is almost incredulous behaviour considering Jay-Z’s past actions with Cristal as well as the amount of pressure he is getting from the general public, however, his decision is more than reasonable for many reasons. Before you get of your seat in outrage, read Jay-Z’s statement from his website and let me at least present the facts:
- Jay-Z will not be making any substantial amount of money from this partnership as the profits go straight to his charitable donation which gives financial aids to students who cannot afford tuition
- Almost all allegations at this point are speculation
- Barney’s has issued a formal apology to the specific customers who had been racially profiled as well as Jay-Z
- The victims in the case are planning to sue and will most likely win a large sum of money for what they have been put through
- Did I mention that the money from the partnership goes to help kids go to post-secondary schools who can’t afford it?
My last point of why Jay-Z should not end his partnership with Barney’s is one that needs more than just a bullet point. The couple who were allegedly racially profiled were just finishing purchasing a belt and a purse for thousands of dollars. They were allegedly pestered by security soon after and even got accused of credit card fraud.
Does this not scream first world problems?
Let me start off by saying that I am not black but I am a man of color. As a result, I have had to deal with many incidents of racial profiling growing up. The one thing I have learned is that everyone on this planet is a racist. I am a racist and you, the reader, are racist but it all just matters to what degree we take it. As long as you keep it to a level where it does not affect how you judge someone on first sight or how you behave around certain people, you will not be hurting anyone. Racism is a part of life in all societies but I do believe that it is something that is well on its way out based on trends from the last 50-100 years. It is very much a reality that people will have to go through a racist experience multiple times in their lives.
With that being said, it is still very important that Barney’s is held accountable for their actions. Their sales will suffer and their reputation may never be the same. They will be sued for millions and their brand will need some major reconstruction.
After all of that, does Jay-Z really need to end his partnership for charitable purposes on top of all of that?!