Shelle Knows: Why is Jay Z Getting Called Out?

big_JayZ_teams_with_Pharrell_for_clothing_line-37e6e90668fa53904ceb668641aada06This is part of the story that the Daily News released October 24th,2013:

He’s got 99 problems and Barneys is a big one.

Jay Z is getting slammed online for his association with the high-end department store rocked this week by two separate instances in which black shoppers say they were profiled and mistakenly accused of theft.

The firestorm of controversy began Tuesday when Trayon Christian, 19, told the Daily News he had sued the city after two undercover NYPD detectives allegedly detained him after he purchased a pricey Ferragamo belt from the Barneys flagship store on Madison Ave.

Christian said he decided to buy the Ferragmo accessory because one of his favorite rappers, Juelz Santana, had sported the belt.

 Then on Wednesday Kayla Phillips, 21, told a similar humiliating ordeal.

She said she bought a $2,500 designer bag from the store in February — but only made it a few blocks before four cops allegedly hassled her and demanded to see ID. She has filed a $5 million notice of claim with the city notifying them of her intention to sue.

So far, Jay Z has not commented on the controversy. The hip-hop mogul has lent his name to a limited-edition line of clothes and jewelry that will go on sale in the store Nov. 20.

Barneys has said in a statement no employee “was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale.”  (continue reading at

After reading the article above about Trayon Christian and Kayla Philips being racially profiled at the high-end store Barney’s New York, I feel as if the wrong issue is being attacked.  The well knows rap artist Jay Z is known to have a fashion line deal with Barney’s that will go on sale in November and since these latest two issues have surfaced he is being put in the hot seat. 

The public wants to know what Jay Z’s next move will be and if he will stand up and pull his clothing line deal with Barney’s but is that the fight we are looking for? Are we satisfied with Jay Z pulling his line because of a situation that occurred that did not involve him?

We should not be attacking Jay Z for whatever action he decides to take but just stand up for whatever action you as an individual who like to take.

Barneys New York

Barneys New York

Yes, Jay Z is iconic and has a bigger stance and voice than many others but that does not mean you have to wait to follow his lead. How about you take the lead and let him follow suit of what is happening?  Reading this article makes it seem as if Jay z is the issue and not the store or the clerk that wrongly accused the customers of stealing. 

People are quick to tell Jay Z to pull the deal he has with Barneys but I think the exact opposite. Jay Z pulling the deal with Barney’s will be a “lose-lose” situation for minorities once again. 

Put it like this, the store is a high-end store that clearly racially profiles against minorities based upon these two altercations and Jay Z pulling his line will cause him to lose business on his end and keep minorities away from the store as the store is trying to make happen in the first place. 

Running away from the situation will only make them winners.  It is sad to say that most of the customers that shop at Barney’s are not minorities and that is how they would want it. So no matter if minorities boycotted or supported Barneys, it would not make a huge difference in the stores survival. 

I say stand and make a point to have minorities flood the store but not buy the merchandise.  There is nothing illegal about looking at the merchandise and not purchasing an item from a store.  Doing this will put the store on edge and this will be powerful for minorities as we will not be contributing to the success but use our power of always being racially profiled to bring the store down. 

Instead of pulling out the deal I say stay in the race and show them that minorities cannot be ran out of the business.  Each day a group of minorities should fill the store and look around with no violent intent or disturbance and walk out with no merchandise. 

Show them who really has the power.

Below is the statement Barneys released after the incident:

UPDATED: Barneys CEO releases statement

Barneys New York believes that no customer should have the unacceptable experience described in recent media reports, and we offer our sincere regret and deepest apologies.

Further to our statement of yesterday, we want to reinforce that Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. We are a strong proponent of equal rights and equal treatment for all human beings. Our mission is to ensure that all customers receive the highest-quality service—without exception.

To this end, we are conducting a thorough review of our practices and procedures as they relate to these matters to ensure that they reflect our continued commitment to fairness and equality. To lead this review, we have retained a civil rights expert, Michael Yaki, who also serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. The Commission has been the nation’s watchdog for civil rights for more than 50 years. Mr. Yaki will be provided with unrestricted access to all aspects of our store operations.

In addition, Barneys New York has reached out to community leaders to begin a dialogue on this important issue.


Mark Lee

CEO of Barneys New York


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