For Jay Z, aka Shawn Carter, no recent month has been more favorable to his image as hip-hop's preeminent renaissance man than his birthday month, December. As reported previously by The Shadow League, Jay recently secured a 10-year, $240 million contract for 31-year-old All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano with the Seattle Mariners on Dec. 6. This came despite a litany of doubts showered upon what was described as his "rookie" approach at negotiating a sports contract. If only all beginners were so lucky.
And the Barney's situation, while all the rage in the media just weeks ago, is now virtually water under the bridge. Carter faced blistering criticism because he did not cease his business dealings with Barney's amid allegations of racial profiling against African-American shoppers Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips at the store's New York location.
But this week, the Rev. Al Sharpton announced that department stores had agreed to a Shopper's Bill of Rights. Executives from Barney's, Macy's, Sak's Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman were among those behind the bill that combats stop-and-frisk-type tactics used against shoppers. And Carter appears to have been one of the visionaries behind this bill's creation, having agreed to assist in formulating similar literature as part of a council convened to combat racial profiling at Barney's. This good news comes when his entire collection that was on sale at Barney's—with items like ski masks going for close to $700—nearly sold out a week ago with all proceeds going to the Shawn Carter Foundation.
And the recent positive shine doesn't end there. On Sunday, Dec. 8, the nominations for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards were announced, and he received nine nods in such categories as album of the year for Magna Carta Holy Grail, best rap performance for "Holy Grail," best rap album for Magna Carta Holy Grail and best rap collaboration for duets with Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé, to name a few. His nine nominations are the most for any nominee this year.
Is it a coincidence that all of the aforementioned wins for Carter occurred shortly after the mogul took on the challenge of a spiritual cleansing via a plant-based diet? Perhaps we can surmise something from the statement released on Jay's "Life + Times" blog last week.
"On December 3rd, one day before my 44th birthday I will embark on a 22 Days challenge to go completely vegan, or as I prefer to call it, plant-based!!" Jay Z wrote, citing a theory of psychology that it takes someone 21 days to form or break a habit. "This all began a few months back when a good friend and vegan challenged me to embrace a 'plant-based breakfast' everyday. It was surprisingly easier on me than I thought.
"There's something spiritual to me about it being my 44th birthday and the serendipity behind the number of days in this challenge; 22 (2+2=4) coupled with the fact that the challenge ends on Christmas day," he add. "It just feels right!
“So you can call it a spiritual and physical cleanse. I will post my progress … Any professional vegans out there that have any great food spots please help out! Please ha. I don’t know what happens after Christmas. A semi-vegan, a full plant-based diet? Or just a spiritual and physical challenge? We’ll see …
"Best of luck and health!
"P.S. B is also joining me."
And if "feeling right" means recalibrating one's mental and physical faculties, perhaps we all should work on experiments of the serendipitous pursuit of what feels right. Serendipity is described by some as a "happy accident," so perhaps Jay's nascent steps down the road of spirituality have him off on a winning streak of Jordan-esque proportions as he dominates the month from a P.R. perspective. And perhaps Carter's plant-based diet was indeed the sublime catalyst behind it all.
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