Barneys has been catching a lot of flack recently when two major profiling stories hit the news.

First there was 19-year-old, Trayon Christian who was arrested after the NYPD accused him of using a fraudulent credit card when he purchased his Ferragamo belt.  After Christian’s story broke, Kayla Phillips,  yet another black customer, came forward about her experience with Barneys and the NYPD when she attempted to purchase her sought after Céline bag.

According to Phillips’ mother, Wendy Elie, a Barneys security guard told her there are tons of undercover cops roaming Barneys at any given moment.  This leads a lot of people to believe that black customers are being the target of racial profiling at the luxury retailer.

Elie took it one step further in blasting Barneys for allowing profiling tactics to take place in its store, especially since recently partnering with Jay-Z.  Elie called the store hypocrites for striking a business deal with Jay-Z, even though they target black shoppers.

“It’s not fair . . . the two individuals who have had these experiences listen to Jay Z and Beyoncé, who wear designer clothes. These kids also like nice things, and they were treated awfully,” Elie said.

One has to wonder how does Jay-Z feel about the profiling going on at Barneys. Technically, if he was just plain ole Shawn Carter from Marcy, he’d probably receive the same treatment Christian and Phillips received.

Jay-Z partnered with designers like Balenciaga to produce an exclusive limited edition line of clothes and jewelry for Barneys that will go on sale Nov. 20th. The deluxe goods range from a Barneys cotton T-shirt for $70 to a Shawn Carter by Hublot watch with black alligator straps that will retail for an eye-popping $33,900.

Imagine a regular Shawn Carter walking into Barneys to purchase the Hublot watch curated by Jay-Z. I wonder how far he’d get down the block before the NYPD has him up against the turnstile in the subway under arrest?

If Jay-Z says nothing about these profiling incidents, maybe Harry Belafonte was right about him all along?

  • http://www.lillian-mae.com Knotty Natural

    I think a lot of entertainers espouse what Belafonte said about Jay. They are in it to make money, not make a difference, even though they are in a place to do so. I don’t expect social responsibility from most high profile (Read: entertainers) people, though I’m pleasantly surprised when I see it.

  • Word

    Jay-Z signed a partnership deal with them before these incidents. The victims involved need to sue their pants off.

    Are you suggesting that Jay admonish Barneys? That would be unnecessary because these incidents have already generated enough negative publicity to annihilate their Black clientele.

    Are you suggesting that Jay should mend bridges? That defeats the purpose, because Black people SHOULD NEVER patronize racist establishments, period.

    Are you suggesting that Jay-Z renege on his contract? That would incur serious legal backlash for no reason.

    I say all of this to point out that not everything is worth protesting. The smartest thing to do is let sleeping dogs lie, and let all these Black people get their money. Black folk really need to start getting strategic.

  • Shanti

    I don’t understand why we expect entertainers to be activist. This is a man with limited education who sold drugs to his own people and now because he has made some rap songs we expect him to be an activist. I am sorry but that makes no sense. The entertainers of the 60s made the choice to be activist because they had the platform and believed in the cause. Of course all did not. I think as a community we look up to celebrities too much for guidance. If Jay-z says nothing about these incidents it is because he is being himself. An egotistical misogynist who is only out for his own bottom dollar. Let’s stop expecting every black person with a little bit of money to be social activist.

  • Miss A

    Black folks need to boycott Barney’s first of all….there are other stores to get high end product even though for the life of me I don’t understand why black folks are emulating mega rich folks and buying this expensive crap. Like Knotty said, entertainers are trying to make that money and I highly doubt they feel a level of responsibility to “make a difference” if it will affect their bankroll. But you better believe if Jay Z was just Shawn Carter without the fame, he would be in the same position.

  • Dga

    I’m quite sure profiling was going on before the paint dried on his contract.

    The point of the article is to point out the hypocrisy of Barney’s alliance with a blk star but profiling the exact ppl who buy his shit.

  • lil ray

    Black celebs get profile too, they just wont admit it, whenever they shop at these stores they have their people call ahead of time to let the stores no a BLACK celebrity is coming in.

  • http://gravatar.com/ebony82 ebony82

    Let Barney’s learn the hard way: by being embarassed and paying damages.

  • Black Womanist

    Jay-z is implicated in this in more ways than one. Toward the end of “Can I Live II,” he admires “chicks with the credit card scams/two kids, one job, and no man.” Remember, it is credit card/debit card fraud that has the NYPD in Barneys in the first place. Let me be clear: the NYPD had no business interfering with two young black people making legitimate purchases. However, I cannot ignore the irony in Jay-Z mentioning/promoting some of the behavior contributing to these problematic circumstances.

  • The Comment

    “chicks with the credit card scams/two kids, one job, and no man.”

    he really said that? Wow…

    Ur comment is spot on. You just outlined the mentality of ignorant negro who haven’t a clue.

    Proof that you can throw all the money at ignorant people. Dress them up. Provide all the luxury $$$ can buy. But it all comes apart at the seams when you have no knowledge of the debt you owe to those who came before you.

  • Joan

    They probably expect all of us to call ahead and say, “Hi. My name is ______ and I’m black. In about 25 minutes, I’ll be arriving at your store to make legitimate purchases with my credit card. I might use cash. Whatever the case, please do not be alarmed. My money spends the same as white people’s money, I just have to work three times as hard for it. See you soon!”

  • http://gravatar.com/nattynay nattynay

    We can say that todays artists aren’t responsible for changing the world or should be the slightest bit concerned with social injustices, but it would be refreshing.

    I too find it absolutely ironic that despite many of these entertainers (esp. rappers) experienced the harsh realities of poverty, violence and discrimination, won’t even use their platform/influence it promote change. Maybe celebs have a lot on their plates.

    Harry Belafonte,Ray Charles and Eartha Kitt were able to still entertain and actively stand-up for a cause beyond throwing money at it all during a time when blacks weren’t considered worth their weight in dog poo, but hey “money over everything” right?

    In regards to Jay-Z, I wouldn’t be surprised if he kept quiet and continued his business with Barney’s… And why not, he’s a “great business-man.”

  • Its all an illusion

    Jay-Z is a high school drop-out, and former drug dealer who became wealthy from degrading and women hating raps. Take away the beat, and these rappers look and sound like crazy people talking to themselves out loud.

  • http://gravatar.com/designdiva40 paintgurl40

    he could walk in there NOW and would probably get profiled just like us “regular folks”. hell, it happened to oprah a few months ago in a different country, it happened to forrest whittaker at a coffee shop (i think) so it could happen to him. i just wish all us black people would stop shopping where we’re not wanted.

  • http://www.urbanexpressive.com J.Nicole

    I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting Jay-Z to do anything socially conscious about this situation. This is the same person who left virtually all of his Roc-A-Fella artists teetering between obscurity & poverty. He capitalized off the Occupy Wall St. movement, and I feel he used the Trayvon Martin rally in NYC for publicity. The only time I recall him taking a stand is when he personally felt offended by Cristal. It is what it is, he’s about money and unfortunately a lot of us are; which is why they spend their hard earned money in stores that don’t want their business in the 1st place. This isn’t new; racial profiling has been going on forever on 5th Ave and wherever else luxury stores are. I am glad this is getting more attention, maybe it’ll wake some of us up to stop making the oppressor even richer.

    Not to say these companies and the NYPD don’t need to be held accountable. I unfortunately don’t think us only boycotting will be enough. For every one of us who won’t spend money here, there will be double the amount of racists who don’t care, and people of color with their heads in the sand. Not saying it shouldn’t be done, but I think it’s more about really supporting our own.

  • RJ

    Agreed and I think we need to become more selective about the artists we support. There is not one black artists that has made in the “mainstream” world that did not obtain their fame off of the black community first.

    Black people make them cool and then when white people pay attention, they turn into Amos n Andy and perform for the whites.

    But we are so thirsty for signs of success in the world that we give them props for being so successful and overlook the damage they ultimately do to the black community.

    Many of them make it harder for other black artists to come up.

    Black people are props to the world. Just because he is making money in the Barney’s deal, does not mean that they respect him and it damn sure does not mean that they respect black people.

  • Anthony

    I know I sound old, but one of the biggest problems with rap is that it puts people like JayZ on pedestals. As others have said, this man is a former drug dealer, who, to my knowledge has never expressed regret for selling death to people in his community. The even shot his brother! It makes no sense to think he would care about anyone besides Beyonce and Blue Ivy.

  • Apple


  • http://gravatar.com/ashortcircuit short circutRebekah

    wow that’s so sad

  • Shawty

    So..but then….what difference does it make to boycott when the large majority of us don’t shop at Barney’s anyway? Do you really think we have that kind of power and influence? How long will it last? I understand and agree with the principal behind it, but from a financial stand point, let’s be real, we’re not going to make a dent in their revenue. We’re not in their target market (I mean, clearly, given what just happened). It’s very rare that weathly people genuinely give a shit about what the havenots are doing. It’s been 1 week and we’ve seen this happen twice at that establishment — doesn’t that right there tell you that they give zero shits?

    Is this another one of those situations where black people get mad for a few days, theirs talks of an uprise al la Trayvon Martin (may he RIP) then it just slowly fades into oblivion? Unfortunately it seems like we’re all talk and no show. We gotta stop doing that because no one takes it as a serious threat.

    As far as Hov, I agree with the other commenters; he’s not going to do anything: it doesn’t effect him on a personal level…if it ain’t f#@kin’ with HIS paper…

    Not saying it’s right, but, you know…..

  • [email protected]

    They want to spend their money to people who do not like them. If they didn’t know now they know. Wake up going support each other. Black people like to spend and not to make and grow money, wealth they call that. Black people are maybe rich. But a few are wealhty.

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