Rapper Jay Z has broken his silence after he was urged to cut ties with luxury retailer Barneys over the reported racial profiling of two customers at the U.S. store.
Fans are demanding the hip-hop star end his association with the high-end chain, which has come under fire over allegations two young black shoppers were detained by cops after making expensive purchases at a New York City branch.
More than 1,400 signatures were added to an online petition asking Jay Z to pull his name from an upcoming fashion collection he curated with designers at Barneys, which he was rumoured to be profiting from.
The 99 Problems hitmaker has now issued a statement on his website Life +Times to address the controversy, claiming the clothing deal will benefit his charity, the Shawn Carter Foundation.
The rap mogul writes, "This collaboration lives in a place of giving and is about the Foundation. I am not making a dime from this collection; I do not stand to make millions, as falsely reported. I need to make that fact crystal clear... This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning. My idea was born (sic) out of creativity and charity...not profit."
Jay Z went on to explain that he is waiting for all the facts to come in about the incident at Barneys in Manhattan before he makes his next move.
He added, "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?
"The negligent, erroneous reports and attacks on my character, intentions, and the spirit of this collaboration have forced me into a statement I didn't want to make without the full facts... Making a decision prematurely to pull out of this project, wouldn't hurt Barneys or Shawn Carter, but all the people that stand a chance at higher education."
The star, whose collaboration is due to hit shelves on 20 November (13), concluded, "Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change."