Jay Z, Barneys Said Forming Advisory Council

Carter has met with the retailer and given his input on an internal advisory council that will be formed around the issue of racial profiling.

Sources close to Barneys New York on Wednesday said that Shawn “Jay Z” Carter has met with the retailer and given his input on an internal advisory council that will be formed around the issue of racial profiling. Jay Z was also involved in creating new guidelines for the way the retailer interacts with the New York Police Department.

This story first appeared in the December 2, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Last month, two black customers were detained by the NYPD at Barneys after making purchases at the store. The incident, along with alleged racial profiling at Macy’s, ignited a firestorm with the Rev. Al Sharpton calling for an investigation by the Attorney General.

Jay Z has made it clear that he wanted a seat at the table and wanted to review all the processes. Getting together with Jay Z prior to the formation of the advisory council is seen as a first step by Barneys. A source close to Barneys said Jay Z had a role in the advisory council and that both parties came up with it together. “There’s cooperation there. The council is a work in progress. It’s an internal advisory council that Jay Z is going to be a part of.”

Jay Z is launching the BNY SCC Gallery and Collection for holiday at Barneys. Originally, 25 percent of sales from the collection were to go to the Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides educational opportunities to young people facing socioeconomic hardship. After the controversy, Barneys said 100 percent of all sales from the BNY SCC Collection will benefit the foundation.

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On Tuesday, Barneys issued an internal memo to its store security staff saying it will begin monitoring the police as they monitor shoppers at its Manhattan flagship. The memo, which was obtained by WWD, said Barneys will start keeping a log of the officers who use the closed-circuit TVs in its security room. Barneys will use audio and video surveillance to monitor the security room. Police officers will be required to provide “a reasonable description of the individual or individuals that they wish to place under surveillance and the reason the police wish to place such individuals under surveillance,” the memo said, noting that the NYPD may have access to the security area only for continuing surveillance that began outside the Madison Avenue store or in connection with a true emergency.

“We recognize the need to cooperate with the NYPD as they address criminal activity in our city and within our locations. However, those needs must be balanced with ensuring that the rights of individuals are respected at all times,” the memo said.