*Throwing stones at hip-hop mogul Jay-Z isn’t the answer, says the good Rev. Al Sharpton in regard to allegations of racial profiling made by two shoppers who were detained after purchasing expensive merchandise at Barneys dept. store in Manhattan, New York, reports show.
The enterprising rapper joined forces with the high-end clothing chain some months ago, but critics have clamored for that partnership–which benefits various charities nationwide–to be dissolved permanently. In recent years, Jay Z, whose influence among fans transcends color barriers, has mounted a series of boycotts against various luxury brands for their association with racial discrimination.
Additionally, after news broke regarding the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, Jay Z wasted little time speaking out against alleged killer George Zimmerman, who was later acquitted of all charges related to the incident. In response, the outspoken lyricist asked the hip-hop community to raise greater awareness of racial profiling against minorities, particularly in his homestead of New York.
This time around, Jay Z has expressed a desire to postpone judgement until further details are released by authorities concerning the mishap at Barneys. This decision has raised the eyebrows of a growing number of skeptics and detractors who claim that Jay Z’s financial interests have taken precedence over helping to ensure that justice is served.
Rev. Al Sharpton, who plans to orchestrate a protest rally in front of the flagship retail building, has asked that cooler heads prevail, urging the public to absolve Jay Z from blame in a battle involving outside parties.
“Some people want to make this about Jay-Z,” Sharpton said. “No, this is about Barneys first.”
Sharpton is accusing the store of “colluding” with the NYPD to harass minority shoppers just for making pricey purchases.
“What is the collusion between the NYPD and your security that four blocks away from the store, the NYPD stops somebody that bought something in your store?”
Sharpton asked. “We call 911 and can’t get no response. Somebody spent over two grand, and you pick them up four blocks later.”
Speaking to reporters at his National Action Network offices, Sharpton vowed to put shopping at Barneys “on hold” if store execs can’t provide an acceptable plan of action for ending discrimination when his NAN reps meet with them on Tuesday.
“Bring the data,” he urged execs, referring to store records of all the shoppers — white and minority — who may have been reported to NYPD for making lush purchases.
If Barneys claims it can’t readily compile those records because the holiday season is looming, then …
“That means we got some days off,” Sharpton said. “We’ll march all the way down to your store — I’ll serve turkey right on the corner.”