Why I Respect Jay-Z’s Response to the Barneys Situation

By Monday, October 28, 2013 6 Permalink 0
The delegate...or not.

The delegate…or not.

By now you’ve heard about the Barneys fiasco involving two young Black adults being stopped because they made pricey purchases that staff found crime-worthy. I won’t rehash that. I’m writing because of the public outcry for Jay-Z to opt out of his partnership/arrangement/situation/thing with the store. This would signal his (our) intolerance for retail racial-profiling and other unjust shenanigans. Well, he hasn’t done that. And his name has been all over the place as a result. Even on the cover of major newspapers. He didn’t make a statement until this past weekend, which was met with mixed reviews. And while the statement was a source of anger for many, I found a truth in his message. Here’s the snippet from that statement that resonated with me.

I move and speak based on facts and not emotion. I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys. Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?

You can read the full statement here.

Amidst all the outrage, the potency behind this will go overlooked. But it says a lot about his business mind and what it takes to be successful. And that’s coming from someone who isn’t a supreme Hov fan. I think it’s important that we isolate the role of emotion in our decision-making. Besides, in situations like this, what’s the rush? We’re not gonna undo racist tendencies in a week.

I can’t help but think how many of us make impulse decisions and how often that leads to a bad outcome; whether it be sex we shouldn’t have had, a place we shouldn’t have went, or a card we shouldn’t have swiped. Solid business people don’t make major decisions based on emotion. They make them based on facts and data. So having read what Jay said, I can’t be mad at him…even if someone on his PR team wrote the statement. At the end of the day, Jay-Z is a business man, not the melanin delegate. We can’t force him to represent us because we say so. That’s just not how life works. And honestly, I don’t think its his job.

Imagine if we all made decisions based on what people we’ve never met had to say? We’d be broke. Opportunities missed and bridges burned because we acted based on the impulse of people we’ve never seen or heard. And let’s say you make a bad decision because of them. Are they going to reimburse you for whatever you lost? Probably not. But hey, you appeased them. That’s what’s important right?

Admittedly, where we are is far different from where Jay-Z is, but let’s not forget he’s a person with self-serving interests just like the rest of us. He’s gonna do what’s best for him and who/whatever he’s affiliated with first. This isn’t a bad thing. At least not to me.

What about you?


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  • I agree, there’s no need for him to rush to judgment. Especially since his deal with Barney’s is to benefit his charity. No sense making a move that might end up just hurting the people his charity is for, and not making and difference at Barney’s anyway.

    And, really, I almost think this is a deliberate distraction. Instead of us being angry at the racial profiling those two men went through, certain outlets in the media are pushing us to be angry at Jay Z instead. I guess he’s an easier target.

    • Rich J.

      Great point about the misguided aggression. Wish I could’ve made that in the post. I really do believe this is misplaced energy.

  • Pingback: Why We Shouldn't Expect More from Jay-Z - SBM()

  • Bree

    I agree. People that have jumped down Jay-Z’s throat about this are probably not business owners and corporate business people. I agree with everything he said in his statement. He handled the situation like the true businessman that he is. Too many people get too emotional and make everything too personal. This is the very reason why men stated that women shouldn’t be in high positions in corporate america and should never be presidents or in positions of power. This is the very reason why many men would never vote for Hillary Clinton if she did run for the presidency. They say women are too emotional for their own good and would make poor and costly business decisions because of their emotions.

    • Rich J.

      You know, I hadn’t considered the latter part about women until you mentioned it. That’s interesting. And sadly accurate. Thanks for presenting that point!

  • Aja

    I see and understand Jay’s point of view but also we can no longer tolerate being treated unjust. If he was able to make a deal with barney’s make one with neiman marcus or saks fifth avenue.. or better yet retail with upscale Black owned boutiques that have the exclusive cliental that can afford his apparel. At first, I was all with him and then I sat back and said, if he continues to work with them it’s a smack in the face. Let’s show how much our Black dollars are worth and take it somewhere else.

    • Rich J.

      Thanks for the comment Aja. I don’t think it’s a smack in the face. Behind, there’s already an arrangement in place where money will go to a good cause. My guess is that was worked on over the course of months.

      I do see where you’re coming from, but I don’t think it’s his job to represent us here. I do think it’s our job to be vocal about the catalyst of all this hoopla.