Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, writes a stern open letter to Jay Z at the Huffington Post, saying it has been several days since news broke about the racial profiling of customers at Barneys New York. Robinson says it’s important for Jay Z to speak out about his upcoming collaboration with Barneys. (The rapper has since issued a statement on his website.)
Nobody should blame you for cutting a promotional deal — launching an exclusive holiday collection — with Barneys just before a racial profiling scandal exploded at the luxury Manhattan department store. As one of your most famous songs reminds us, you’re not a mind-reader.
But they will blame you. Timing is everything and the seeming hypocrisy of a rapper who’s rhymed about racial profiling and police misconduct now promoting a $33,000 watch at the infamous department store is too juicy of a headline to ignore.
And, to be fair, it’s been several days now since the news broke that Trayon Christian, a 19-year-old engineering student from Queens, is suing Barneys and the NYPD for racial discrimination after purchasing a $349 Ferragamo belt from the store. He was stopped just after exiting, handcuffed and detained in a jail cell until the police ran out of reasons to keep holding him.
It’s been several days, too, since the follow-up story of Kayla Phillips, a 21-year-old nursing student, who was swarmed by undercover cops after buying a designer handbag at the same store back in February. She too is planning to sue Barneys and the police.
Read Rashad Robinson‘s entire piece at the Huffington Post.
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