Jay-Z has responded to the ongoing racism scandal involving Barneys, saying he is being demonized as a result of something he had nothing to do with.
Barneys New York, the luxury retailer Jay partners with in business, is accused of racially profiling a black customer for simply trying to buy a fancy belt.
Trayon Christian says he was arrested at Barneys after employees assumed he was a thief - even though all his IDs and credit cards were totally legit.
A second black shopper then came forward with similar allegations.
The backlash spawned a Change.org petition and Twitter movements demanding that Jay Z respond, given his highly-touted collaborations with Barneys.
While the brand's CEO Mark Lee issued a statement in which he offered his "sincere regret and deepest apologies," Jay Z remained silent until now:
"I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys," Jay wrote.
"I speak based on facts, not emotion. Why am I being demonized, denounced and thrown on the cover of a newspaper for not speaking immediately?"
The musician and entrepreneur emphasized that proceeds from his Barneys collaboration are going to his charity, The Shawn Carter Foundation, noting:
"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 out of creativity and charity… not profit."
"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."
"I am against discrimination of any kind. But if I make snap judgments, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?"
Definitely a restrained reaction, and some food for thought. Another frequent collaborator, Kanye West, had no such intentions, going OFF on Barneys.
During his October 25 concert in Las Vegas, Kanye West said "f--k racism" and more about the case, adding, "Don't touch anything in the store."
"Excuse me, that's that 'Can I help you sir?' That's that racial profiling out in front of Barneys and s--t. Talking about, 'Did you steal that?'"