Retailer makes announcement amid racial-profiling scandal.
The party, planned as a fundraiser for Jay's nonprofit, the Shawn Carter Foundation, was scheduled to take place at an off-site location Wednesday (Nov. 20), the same day that the collection will be made available in-store and online.
The only explanation offered so far is a short statement from the luxury retailer: "Due to unforeseen circumstances, the event has been canceled."
But the public's memory is not that short. The roll out of "A New York Holiday," designed as an ode to the shopping capital of the U.S., has been marred with ironic controversy as Barneys is under investigation for wrongfully detaining two young African-American shoppers at their Madison Avenue store, on two separate occasions.
The retailer is being accused of racial profiling and Jay is being petitioned (to the tune of at least 50,000 signatures) to end the partnership.
Not one to back down without #factsonly, however, Jay has insisted that while the investigation is ongoing — and in lieu of terminating their agreement (and tossing all that product) — he is given a leadership role in a council convened specifically to address racial profiling at Barneys. The new rules also significantly increase the percentage of sales donated by the retailer to his Foundation from 25 percent to 100, plus 10 percent of store-wide sales with a guaranteed minimum of $1 million.
"I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue," Jay said in his most recent statement on the matter. "... I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward."
Friday, Barneys will participate in a forum co-hosted by the Retail Council of New York State and the New York Metropolitan Retailing Associated at the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Other high-end clothing pushers like Macys, which is also under fire for alleged racial profiling this year, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale's are sending representatives as well. Al Sharpton has helped organize.
No word as of press time from Jay Z or his camp regarding the event cancellation.
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(Photo: Lionel Urman/Splash News)