Amid continuing controversy over the alleged use of racial profiling by luxury department store Barneys New York, a kick-off party to celebrate the retailer’s collaboration with Jay-Z planned for Wednesday has been called off, reports Women’s Wear Daily.
A brief statement issued by Barneys read simply, “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the event has been cancelled.”
Last month, fans called for Jay-Z to sever ties with Barneys after two separate racial discrimination lawsuits were brought against the store. A petition launched on Change.org urged the music mogul to withdraw from the BNY SCC Gallery and Collection partnership — a deal that included a fashion collection with items ranging from a $70 T-shirt to a $33,900 watch, and an immersive gallery space at the retailer’s New York City flagship.
The petition, which currently has more than 57,000 signatures, stated, “Barneys lacks any connection with the black and hip-hop community. And without his vast wealth and brand power, they would see [Jay-Z] the same as they see Trayon Christian. 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 [sic], that this behavior cannot be tolerated any longer.”
Over the weekend, both Barneys and Jay-Z released statements confirming that the BNY SCC Gallery and Collection would launch as scheduled, and outlining a new plan to donate 100 percent of all sales from the collection — when the partnership was originally announced in September, the figure was 25 percent — to the Sean Carter Foundation. Barneys also revealed it would chip in 10 percent of all retail sales from brick and mortar stores across the U.S. and barneys.com on Wednesday, with a guaranteed donation of at least $1 million.
Jay-Z noted that he had added a few conditions to his deal with Barneys, most notably that he be given “a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling.”
Though the launch event has been called off, it appears that Barneys still intends to roll out Jay-Z’s “A New York Holiday” collection on Wednesday.
Do you think Jay-Z should have cancelled his partnership with Barneys? Head down to the comments to sound off.