Barneys and Jay Z Address Racial Profiling Issues, Cancel Launch Party

With the buzz of recent racial profiling incidents at Barneys and Macy's starting to die down, the retailers could probably have gotten away with stalling on addressing the issue further. Thankfully, they're not.
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With the buzz of recent racial profiling incidents at Barneys and Macy's starting to die down, the retailers could probably have gotten away with stalling on addressing the issue further. Thankfully, they're not.
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With the buzz of recent racial profiling incidents at Barneys and Macy's starting to die down, the retailers involved could probably have gotten away with stalling on addressing the issue further. Thankfully, they're not.

This Friday, representatives from major New York retailers including Macy’s, Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Saks and Bloomingdale's will convene at a forum hosted by the Retail Council of New York State, WWD reports. The gathering is being spearheaded by Barneys, which recently faced two accusations of racial profiling in the same week. The Manhattan retailer worked with Rev. Al Sharpton and the Retail Council to make sure all major retailers were present.

It's rare that competing retailers come together to work on an issue. We certainly wouldn't mind being a fly on that wall.

Meanwhile, Barneys is about to launch a much-hyped collaboration with rapper Jay Z, who caught a lot of flack for going through with said project after the racial profiling allegations surfaced. Now, he's not only going through with it, but will join the retailer in a "leadership role" addressing racial profiling issues. He said the following in a statement posted to his website Life + Times:

While I await the findings of the Attorney General’s office, I have agreed to move forward with the launch of BNY SCC collection under the condition that I have a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling. I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others. I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward. I am choosing to take this head on.

On top of that, Barneys has announced that it's donating 100% of proceeds from the collaboration, instead of the initial 25%, to Jay's Shawn Carter Foundation. In addition, on Wednesday (when the collection launches) 10% of all Barneys retail sales will go to the foundation.

We think this is pretty awesome of Barneys and Jay Z; and we're now even more excited to shop his Barneys collection, which includes limited edition items from Balenciaga, Proenza Schouler and more.

Update: A party scheduled for Wednesday to celebrate the launch of the collaboration between the retailer and Jay Z, as well as raise money for the Shawn Carter Foundation, has been cancelled, WWD reports. It's unknown whether or not the cancellation is connected to the racial profiling controversy. We've reached out to Barneys and will report back once we know more.