Jay Z hopped on Rick Ross’ new single “Devil is a Lie” and praised himself for the way he handled the Barneys racial profiling controversy earlier this year.
The hip-hop mogul was heavily criticized for not breaking ties with Barneys New York after a string of racial profiling incidences were exposed in October. But he’s now using his music to further explain the impact he believes he has had by staying with Barneys instead of walking away.
Rick Ross’ “Devil is a Lie” dropped earlier this month and Jay Z took the opportunity to give himself a little pat on the back for the way he handled the controversy.
“See what I did to the stop and frisk,” he raps on the song. “Brooklyn on the Barneys like we own the b***h/ Give the money to the hood, now we all win/ Got that Barneys floor looking like a V.I.M.”
V.I.M is a popular sneaker and jeans retailer in Brooklyn that Jay Z is using in the song to represent the retail market for African-American consumers, rather than the mostly white demographic that has made up the bulk of Barneys customers.
The verse pretty much echoes the sentiments that Jay Z expressed when he published an open letter on his website to explain his stance on the Barneys controversy back in November.
“The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others, hoping that someone addresses the problem,” Jay Z wrote in the open letter. “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.”
One shopper, Trayon Christian, purchased a $349 Ferragamo belt before he was arrested and held in jail cell for more than two hours because undercover NYPD officers accused him of shoplifting.
“The detectives were asking me ‘How could you afford a belt like this? Where did you get this money from,’ “ Christian told the New York Daily News.
Another African-American shopper, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips, was also approached by police officers after she purchased a $2,500 handbag from the store and was accused of committing credit card fraud.
“There were three men and a woman,” Phillips said of the forceful arrest. “Two of them attacked me and pushed me against a wall, and the other two appeared in front of me, blocking the turnstile.”
Both Phillips and Christian are suing Barneys New York.