Rapper Jay Z keeps clothing line at Barneys despite claims of racial profiling

Reuters

LOS ANGELES, Nov 15 (Reuters) - Rapper Jay Z said on Fridaythat he will go ahead with his clothing collaboration withupscale retail chain Barneys New York Inc, but willalso join a council fighting racial profiling, as authoritiesinvestigate Barneys and other major retailers accused ofdiscrimination against black shoppers.

Jay Z, 43, one of the best-selling rappers and anentrepreneur, collaborated with Barneys on the BNY SCC clothinglabel. Initially 25 percent of the proceeds were to go to JayZ's foundation but not 100 percent of profits will be donated.

But Jay Z came under fire for his partnership when two blackshoppers alleged they were detained by New York police andaccused of fraud after buying luxury items in Barneys.

Jay Z, real name Shawn Carter, released a statement on hisLife + Times website saying his team was being kept updated onthe investigations of the two detained shoppers, and that hewould sit on a council "specially convened to deal with theissue of racial profiling."

"I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect changeto this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been towalk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someoneaddresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others,"he said.

"I will take this into my own hands with full power torecommend, review and revise policies and guidelines movingforward. I am choosing to take this head on," the rapper added.

Barneys has also pledged to donate 10 percent of all retailsales from Barneys stores nationwide and online on Nov. 20 toJay Z's foundation.

Barneys said the amount the company would raise for thefoundation on Nov. 20 would amount to at least $1 million.

"Moving forward, Mr. Carter's leadership in this processwill further strengthen the industry's ability to ensure thatanyone who walks into a retail establishment is treated equallyand with respect," the company said in a statement. "We welcomeMr. Carter's input and recommendations to our future policiesand guidelines."

Barneys is being investigated alongside Macy's Inc inwhat has become known as "shop-and-frisk," as multiple reportsemerged of black shoppers allegedly being detained due to racialprofiling.

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