Stefan Söderström/All Over Press
Why doesn’t Jay Z, who says he’s been racially profiled himself, believe the stories of Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, who were humiliated by cops after shopping at Barneys?
“But I’ll be hood foreva.” — Jay Z, “Empire State of Mind.”
Well, Jay Z sure ain’t talkin’ about his old Brooklyn ‘hood of the Marcy projects.
Because his timid wait-and-see position on his affiliation with Barneys after revelations of a pattern of racially profiling black customers made Jay Z seem more interested in his Wall Street cred than his Brooklyn street cred.
He was not “demonized” by the Daily News, which broke the Barneys story. He was simply asked if he would disassociate himself from a merchandising deal with Barneys until they explained fully why legitimate black shoppers were being treated like lowlife shoplifters.
It’s terrific that 25% of the revenue of the Jay Z-Barneys deal goes to his foundation for black scholarships. But that doesn’t make the profiling charges go away. And he needs to man up and address this ugly issue.
As Daily News reporter Daniel Beekman pointed out Sunday, Jay Z and his lovely wife, Beyoncé, supported Trayvon Martin’s family before a jury reached a verdict. After the odious George Zimmerman was acquitted, Jay Z denounced the verdict, rightfully so.
Christie M. Farriella for New York Daily News
It’s terrific that 25% of the revenue of the Jay Z-Barneys deal goes to his foundation for black scholarships. But that doesn’t make the profiling charges go away.
So why doesn’t Jay Z, who says he’s been racially profiled himself, believe the stories of Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, who were humiliated by cops after shopping at Barneys?
When Jay Z learned that an official of Cristal Champagne had made a racist comment, the superstar led a boycott, refusing to sell Cristal in his 40/40 Club. So how could the “new Sinatra” be doing business with a place like Barneys ?
If he means by ‘hood that he’ll embrace the hip hop “hoodlum” lifestyle forever, he should be aware that he’s looking more like a corporate “banksta” every day and less like the hardcore gangsta rapper that made him a star.
Listen, I always liked this guy. I reported here before that I met him 11 years ago at a restaurant called Mesa Grille on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan. The New York Knicks had a reading program for inner-city kids, and on a mid-December afternoon they invited a bunch of poor youths from Williamsburg for a taste of how the other half of our two-tiered city lived.
And then out of the cold December rain stepped Jay Z with one pal, no posse, on time, folding an umbrella. The kid from the Marcy projects walked in and sat down with the astonished kids and read them “How Murray Saved Christmas.”
Right there, I became a Jay Z fan foreva.
John Sciulli/Getty Images for DCP
When Jay Z learned that an official of Cristal Champagne had made a racist comment, the superstar led a boycott, refusing to sell Cristal in his 40/40 Club.
We spoke one-on-one afterwards, two Brooklyn guys who’d both lived in the projects, and he sang the praises of his mom, who encouraged him to read and write. He also told me how important it was not to forget where you come from.
I liked him even more when I learned he went back to the Marcy projects in a truck every year to give out toys for Christmas.
And for me, “Empire State of Mind,” stands as the glittering 21st-century anthem of our great city.
I cheered Jay Z when he used his celebrity to help get an arena built in Brooklyn and a professional home team to play in his native borough. I spent a small fortune to buy tickets for my kids to Jay Z’s debut concert at the arena.
Now Jay Z wants to blame the press for demonizing him? And get all the facts from the corporate suits before taking a stand against racial profiling at Barneys?
C’mon, man, that has about as much street cred as a parlor cat.
Put your lighter in the air, Shawn Carter from Marcy, and see the light from the streets instead of from the suites.