Should Jay-Z cut his ties with major fashion retailer Barneys is the question that has been asked around the internet since two stories broke of Barneys racially profiling two black customers who tried to purchase high end items. The first case was of a 19-year-old, Trayon Christian who was arrested after purchasing a Ferragamo belt with a credit card. Store clerks called police on him and he was arrested as NYPD accused the young man of using a fraudulent credit card to make the purchase. His identity and credit card was identified and he was later released but the sting of the racial profiling remains. The second incident happened with Kayla Phillips who attempted to purchase a Celine bag and was told that there were tons of undercover cops roaming the store to make sure that no theft or scamming occurred.
This situation is not new because people of color have been wrongly accused and profiled for years from high end stores to lower end convenience stores (hey, even Oprah has been profiled many times before!). What has become a new issue and discussion though is that we have many black public figures who now are partnering and have lucrative deals with these major brands and institutions that are known to racially profile. So the question is, is it on these black public figures to make a statement by cutting ties with these companies. Should Jay-Z cut ties with Barneys? The thing is that after contracts are signed and promotion is done, it is difficult to make that kind of move right now. Cutting ties would mean millions lost and hours in court with lawyers.
The interesting part of this story is that if Jay-Z was just Shawn Carter from Brooklyn, wouldn’t he fit the “suspicious” look that Barneys has been keeping an eye out for?
What are your thoughts on this scenario – would you cut ties with Barneys if you were in his situation?