Final Call: Celebrity accountability: Should it matter to Black America?

Celebrity once meant a person had a platform with the potential to be a leader and was influential because of their visibility.  But that meant a certain expectation to uphold values that could be emulated by those who weren’t celebrities.. Today celebrity takes different forms and a certain mindset—stars are chosen because they’re not going to rock the boat… -Davey D-

( – Star power, social responsibility and controversy surfaced again over a partnership between hip hop entrepreneur Jay Z aka Shawn Carter and a high end store accused of racially profiling customers and rapper-businessman Kanye West’s appropriation of the Confederate Stars and Bars flag for a clothing line.

Jay Z issued a statement Nov. 15 defending his decision to keep his product line partnership with Barney’s, despite lawsuits alleging the New York store racially profiled Black customers. One customer was arrested after using his own credit card to purchase a $350 belt.

“The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. 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,” said Jay Z, in the mid-November statement posted to his website.


The rapper and businessman called his decision a commitment to tackle the problem head on, with a “leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling.”

“As I previously stated, the collaboration with Barneys has always been about giving and The Shawn Carter Foundation. From this collection, the Foundation will receive not only 25 percent of sales, it will now receive the additional 75 percent of Barneys’ sales, totaling 100 percent of all sales from BNY SCC. Along with 100 percent of sales from the collaboration, the Foundation will receive an additional 10 percent of all retail sales from Barneys New York stores nationwide and on November 20th,” said Jay Z.

His Shawn Carter Foundation grants scholarships to single mothers, children in alternative schools, and others who generally don’t receive scholarships.

Kanye seemed less concerned about negative opinions during a recent radio interview in which he discussed the backlash. “Any energy is good energy. You know the Confederate flag represented slavery in a way—that’s my abstract take on what I know about it. So I made the song ‘New Slaves.’ So I took the Confederate flag and made it my flag. It’s my flag. Now what are you going to do?” he asked.
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  1. In my opinion, Kanye is in no way trying, hoping, inferring, or enabling anyone to emulate him or anything worthwhile. I don’t believe he’s evil. I just believe he could care less. His statements weather verbal or visual are about Kanye. He’s too far removed and disconnected from those who died by the hand of the fools who believed in what the Conferate flag represented. Not that he can’t get it. I just don’t think he will or cares too. His abstract connection to the flag motivating him to write “New Slave”? Gotcha. In that case, welcome to your hi tech plantation son.

  2. Hip hop is not about being accountable.