We're a hawk on the issues.

Despite Racism Scandal, Jay Z’s Line With Barneys Raises $1 Million For Charity

Despite retail empire Barneys finding itself in a major racism snafu last fall, Jay Z’s clothing line raised a staggering $1 million for his charity. Two multi-million dollar lawsuits were filed by African-American customers who accused store clerks of racially profiling them when they bought expensive items. Many believed that Jay Z would pull the plug on his holiday clothing line with Barney’s afterwards, but he instead worked out a deal in which all of the money from sales of the line would go to his charity.

Items in the Jay Z line with Barneys included t-shirts that costs $70 to a crocodile skin strap watch worth nearly $34,000. Even more surprisingly, the $1 million in sales came after just six weeks of business. The money will go directly to the Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides the opportunity for underprivileged children in the U.S. to attend college.

Jay Z also made sure that Barneys created a committee devoted solely to racial profiling and diversity training, which he would serve on the board of. Many of his fans were initially angry that the rapper remained silent on the racial profiling lawsuits, but he said he wanted all the facts first. “I move and speak based on facts and not emotion. I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys,” he said in a statement. “Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately … I am against discrimination of any kind but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?”

Last October, Trayvon Christian claimed police approached and detained him after expressing belief that he had actually purchased a $349 belt from the store. After an investigation confirmed that the debit card Christian used to purchase the belt was his, he was released. That same week, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips said she was approached by four undercover police officers after buying a $2,500 handbag and questioned as to how she paid for it. She was eventually released after showing police her ID and new debit card that had arrived in the mail that morning.

(Photo: Reuters)

About the author