“This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning,” he said. “My idea was born out of creativity and charity… not profit.”
He also said that “making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project wouldn’t hurt Barneys or Shawn Carter but all the people that stand a chance at higher education,” he said. “I have been working with my team ever since the situation was brought to my attention to get to the bottom of these incidents and at the same time find a solution that doesn’t harm all those that stand to benefit from this collaboration.”
Jay-Z said he understood what it felt like to be racially profiled — but also didn’t want to jump to unfair conclusions.
“I am against discrimination of any kind but if I make snap judgments, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?” he asked. “I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change.”
Earlier Saturday, Sharpton held a rally at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem, saying black New Yorkers should put shopping at Barneys “on hold” if the retailer’s response is inadequate.
But it is not the only retailer accused of racially profiling its customers.
Some Sharpton supporters who attended Saturday’s rally said they had been profiled in other stores, too. Shane Lee, 51, said he went to the high-end store Bergdorf Goodman to buy shirts last year and the sales staff would not assist him.
“Instead of helping me, they were staring at me,” said Lee, who is black. “I felt so uncomfortable that I just left.”
A Bergdorf Goodman official did not return a call seeking comment Saturday.
On Friday, Rob Brown, a black actor on the HBO series “Treme” said he was stop because of his race while shopping at Macy’s flagship Manhattan store. Brown said in his lawsuit that he was detained nearly an hour by police June 8 after employees contacted authorities about possible credit card fraud.
Macy’s didn’t comment on the litigation but said in a statement it was investigating.