Jay Z released his curated collection at Barneys, which includes an $88,000 watch, $3,000 hoodie and a $750 mask, quietly yesterday. Despite a petition, protest and blowback from the media and fans surrounding Barneys recent racial profiling allegations, Jay moved forward with the collaboration under the condition that 100% of the proceeds went to The Shawn Carter Foundation, which awards post-secondary scholarships to students facing socio-economic hardships. Barneys, who denied the racial profiling claims as reports about a racist insider culture were released, upped the ante on the donation, giving 10% of proceeds from sales from their flagship stores and Barneys.com to Jay’s non-profit organization on “Shop For a Cause” day. They also cancelled the launch fete. For many, Barneys last-ditch efforts to put a charitable spin on the collection weren’t enough.
The New York Times did an in-depth profile on Jay Z’s decision to move forward with the collaboration, gathering quotes from fashion greats like André Leon Talley:
“Any African-American, male or female, with any consciousness of what has happened would not go into Barneys right now,” André Leon Talley, the former editor at large of Vogue, said in an interview this week. “Nor Macy’s.” He said that if he were in Jay Z’s position, “for the simplicity of making a broad statement I would pull out.”
Most agree with André’s assertion about making a statement. But if Jay Z won’t use his status to make a statement against racial profiling, consumers can certainly do so by spending their money elsewhere.
What do you think of André Leon Talley’s statement?