Should Jay-Z Say Goodbye to Barneys?

October 29th, 2013

(Photos from left: Brian Ach/Getty Images, Jay-Z Apparel via Barneys)

Jay Z has taken a lot of heat this year for what many people perceive to be his increasingly corporate presence or “Empire State of Mind” if you will. First it was his media-induced feud with Harry Belafonte who accused Hov and ‘B’ of not doing enough to give back to their community, to which Jay Z responded with the now infamous “My presence is charity” line. Then there was the Magna Carta Holy Grail/Samsung experiment which turned out to be a gargantuan data mining operation employed by the cell phone giant to gather consumer information.

Most recently Jay partnered up with upscale department store Barney’s for a holiday collection introduced by some of their top designers. But when the upscale clothing superstore was accused of racism by an African-American customer, who was harassed over a belt that he had purchased, by store employees who thought he stole it, the public has demanded Jay to sever ties with the store.

Jay Z has opted to keep his partnership, which is a smart move. First of all, because the story as a whole is still developing we don’t have all the facts. And making a judgement based on limited facts is an assumption and we all know what assuming can do. As a rapper and entrepreneur, Jay has fought to combat prejudice, so it is only right he hold off on passing judgement before he finds out all of the facts. How bad would it look if it turned out the story was fake? Secondly, as one of the most influential public figures of the last decade, Jay’s influence carries a lot of weight. So whereas some D-list pumping a startup project can call it quits with minimal backlash, everything Jay Z does is put under a microscope and met with an exponentially greater amount of public scrutiny.

The main reason he is right to stick to his guns on this one is the example he stands to set even if everything does turn out to be accurate. Being the bigger person is a role Jay has filled quite a bit over his career and this would be no different. As much as he means to American pop culture, Jay Z sets an example for young people whether he wants to or not, and to show that people or even companies can come together to resolve their differences, learn a valuable lesson and show some semblance of harmony. Peaceful, innovative and diplomatic solutions are increasingly rare, and this is an opportunity for Jay to show his power as a leader. The jury is still out on the situation, but hopefully Americans will learn to seek facts before making judgments.

Jay Z has taken a lot of heat this year for what many people perceive to be his increasingly corporate presence or “Empire State of Mind” if you will. First it was his media-induced feud with Harry Belafonte who accused Hov and ‘B’ of not doing enough to give back to their community, to which Jay Z responded with the now infamous “My presence is charity” line. Then there was the Magna Carta Holy Grail/Samsung experiment which turned out to be a gargantuan data mining operation employed by the cell phone giant to gather consumer information.

Most recently Jay partnered up with upscale department store Barney’s for a holiday collection introduced by some of their top designers. But when the upscale clothing superstore was accused of racism by an African-American customer, who was harassed over a belt that he had purchased, by store employees who thought he stole it, the public demanded Jay sever ties with the store.

Thus far, Jay Z has opted to keep his partnership, which  is a smart move. First of all, because the story as a whole is still developing we don’t have all the facts. And making a judgement based on limited facts is also known as prejudging and is plaguing America. As a rapper and entrepreneur, Jay has fought to combat prejudice, so it is only right he hold off on passing judgement before he finds out all of the facts. How bad would it look if it turned out the story was fake? Secondly, as one of the most influential public figures of the last decade, Jay’s influence carries a lot of weight. So whereas some D-list star pumping a startup project can call it quits with minimal backlash, everything Jay Z does is put under a microscope and met with an exponentially greater amount of public scrutiny.

The main reason he is right to stick to his guns on this one is the example he stands to set even if everything does turn out to be accurate. Being the bigger person is a role Jay has filled quite a bit over his career and this would be no different. As much as he means to American pop culture, Jay Z sets an example for young people whether he wants to or not, and to show that people or even companies can come together to resolve their differences, learn a valuable lesson and show some semblance of harmony. Peaceful, innovative and diplomatic solutions are increasingly rare, and this is an opportunity for Jay to show his power as a leader. The jury is still out on the situation, but hopefully Americans will learn to seek facts before making judgements.

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