NEW YORK — Barneys New York and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter said they are committed to launching the BNY SCC Gallery and Collection for holiday and have increased the percentage they will donate to the Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides educational opportunities to young people facing socioeconomic hardship.
This story first appeared in the November 18, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Under the new plan, 100 percent of all sales from the BNY SCC Collection will benefit the foundation; originally, 25 percent of sales were to go to the foundation. In addition, on Wednesday, when the collection launches at Barneys — with design partners such as Balenciaga, Balmain, Lanvin, Proenza Schouler and Rick Owens — it will donate 10 percent of all retail sales from Barneys stores in the US and barneys.com, with a guarantee of raising at least $1 million.
Last month, Jay Z drew widespread criticism for collaborating with the retailer after two African-American customers were detained by the New York Police Department after making expensive purchases at the store. Jay Z said he was going forward with the collection, provided he is given a “leadership role” in addressing racial profiling issues.
In a statement posted on his Web site, Jay Z wrote, “While I await the findings of the Attorney General’s office, I have agreed to move forward with the launch of BNY SCC collection under the condition that I have a leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling. I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others. I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward. I am choosing to take this head on.”
He said that his team has been privy to the status of the Barneys third-party consultant’s investigation and has also contacted the attorney general’s office about the status of its investigation into both Barneys and Macy’s, where other alleged racial profiling incidents have occurred. “These findings are not yet available,” he said.
Barneys said, “Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. While all of our investigations have been consistent in finding that no Barneys New York employee was involved in either of the deplorable situations concerning Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, an issue exists in our industry, and we intend to be part of the solution. As we have stated all along, if we learn any procedures or practices are not consistent with our zero-tolerance policy, we will immediately take corrective action including terminating those employees responsible.”
A forum to address racial profiling and loss prevention will be held here on Friday, organized by the Retail Council of New York, and attended by executives from Barneys, Macy’s, Bloomingale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus Group, among others.
Barneys said it has worked closely with Rev. Al Sharpton; Marc Morial, chief executive officer of the National Urban League, and other community leaders to address these issues.
“Moving forward, Mr. Carter’s leadership in this process will further strengthen the industry’s ability to ensure that anyone who walks into a retail establishment is treated equally and with respect,” said Barneys. “We welcome Mr. Carter’s input and recommendations to our future policies and guidelines.”