Jay-Z is feeling “demonized.” After mounting criticism about the superstar’s collaboration with upscale retailer Barneys that has been accused of racially profiling Black customers, the business mogul and rapper released a statement saying he wants to avoid making “snap judgments.” Many have criticized Jay-Z for staying silent after two young Black people claimed they were racially profiled after making expensive purchases at Barneys, speculating the reason was that he doesn’t want to lose the money from the partnership with the luxury store. That is far from true, Jay-Z says, noting that he isn’t “making a dime” off his work with the high-end retailer. The Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides college scholarships, is the one that benefits from the cooperation with Barneys.
“Making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project, wouldn’t hurt Barneys or Shawn Carter, but all the people that stand a chance at higher education,” Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, writes. In the statement, Jay-Z emphasizes that “I move and speak based on facts and not emotion” and he doesn’t express any outright sympathy for the alleged victims beyond saying that he has also experienced profiling.
“I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change,” he writes.