After two high-profile incidents of young African Americans being questioned after shopping at Barneys, Jay Z's forthcoming collection for the luxury retailer arrives at an awkward time.
Hov's new high-end fashion line for the department store, which debuts Nov. 20, includes a $70 T-shirt and a nearly $34,000 watch. But if several recent high-profile incidents are a sign, the young, hip-hop savvy shopper the line is geared toward might find that purchasing the items could be very unpleasant.
Two recent incidents in the
In response, an online protest at Change.org has emerged asking Jay Z to walk away from his Barneys collection. It's already garnered several thousand signatures.
"Without his vast wealth and brand power, they would see him the same as they see Trayon Christian," writes Derick Bowers, the protest's founder. "Jay Z should be appalled by Barneys' actions, and withdraw all support from them. If he does this, he will send a clear message to all corporations that are likeminded, that this behavior cannot be tolerated any longer."
Barneys is already in damage-control mode, with CEO Mark Lee agreeing to meet with New York civil rights leaders and to launch an internal investigation led by longtime civil rights advocate Michael Yaki. "