Jay-Z is coming under pressure from social media and even residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood where he grew up to cancel his multi-million dollar Christmas tie-in with Barneys.
The superstar rapper, has signed a contract to design an exclusive line for the Manhattan superstore
available next month and the 43-year-old will also be called upon to decorate one of the store's iconic Christmas windows.
However, in light of the news that two black shoppers have accused Barney's and the NYPD of racially profiling them after they purchased expensive items at the Madison Avenue store, a petition has been signed calling on Jay-Z to reconsider his contract.
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Indeed, the residents of Marcy House, in Brooklyn, where Jay-Z grew up as Shawn Carter have called on the '99 Problems' rapper and husband of Beyonce to think about those who have not become as succesful as him.
'Jay Z and my son grew up together,' said Effie Hardy, 74, to the New York Daily News.
'That could be his family Barneys is profiling. They would’ve done the same thing to him back in the day, before he got to where he is now. He should remember that.'
The luxury and exclusive collection that Jay-Z has lent his considerable clout to is named 'A New York Holiday,' and the cheapest item is a $70 cotton T-shirt while a Shawn Carter watch by Hublot with alligator skin straps will cost an incredible $33,900.
Another Marcy resident, Annette Rush, 40, told the New York Daily News that as a role model, Jay-Z should think about the ramifications of the two shoppers allegations.
'My money is as good as anybody else’s money. It’s all green,' said Rush.
'From someone that came from the hood, he should know all that. He knows how hard it is. I don’t think he should sell his things there, not at a place where there’s racial profiling going on. It’s ridiculous.'
The controversy began when two black customers came forward to say that they had been stopped and detained after buying expensive items from the luxury store.
On Tuesday, Trayon Christian, 19, from Queens said that he was suing the city and Barneys after he was accosted by two undercover NYPD detectives after he had bought a $349 Ferragamo belt.
And then on Wednesday, Kayla Phillips, 21, a seven-month pregnant mother from Canarsie, Brooklyn, said that she too had been stopped.
The young mother, from Brooklyn, New York, said she experienced similarly shocking treatment from staff at the Madison Avenue store in February when she bought a $2,500 Céline handbag.
She has now filed a $5 million notice of claim with the city showing her intention to sue the NYPD.
'As I was walking into the train station, four undercover police officers attacked me,' Phillips told the New York Post.
'They were very rough,' she added to the New York Daily News. 'I didn't know what was happening.'
She explained to the cops that she had used a temporary Bank of America card to make the purchase - and they demanded to know why her name was not on it.
She called her mother, Wendy Straker, who said that the police officers had asked her daughter: 'What are you doing here in Manhattan? Where'd you get the money to buy that expensive bag?'
Straker added that the police were on the phone with a Barneys employee about the transaction.
Police finally let her go after she showed them her ID and new debit card, which arrived that morning.
'Jay Z is getting ready to do a campaign with Barneys, but they’re looking at these African-American kids like they're thieves,' Straker said.
The case comes after it emerged that another shopper, Trayon Christian, was stopped and handcuffed after he bought a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt in the store.
Christian, 19, has now filed a lawsuit for unspecified damages against the Madison Avenue store and the NYPD who wrongly accused him of fraud.
Mr Christian, who lives with his mom in Queens, had decided to splash out on the belt after seeing one of his favorite music stars, Harlem rapper Juelz Santana, wearing the accessory.
However once he had paid for the belt and had left Barneys on April 29 this year, the fashion-loving teen was grabbed by undercover officers on the street.
According to the civil rights lawsuit, the 19-year-old was asked 'how a young black man such as himself could afford to purchase such an expensive belt'.
Mr Christian's lawyer Michael Palillo told the New York Daily News: 'He's never been arrested. His only crime was being a young black guy buying a $300 belt.'
A Barneys store employee had asked the 19-year-old for ID when he used his Chase debit card to buy the belt. Mr Christian showed the clerk his state ID.
Harlem rapper Juelz Santana (pictured right) wearing the belt coveted by his teenage fan
The store cashier then subsequently called the police to claim that the purchase was a fraud, according to the lawsuit.
Officers took the teenager to a local precinct.
Mr Christian once again showed his ID, debit card and receipt for the belt. Officers still refused to believe the teenager.
Finally Chase bank was contacted who verified that the debit card belonged to Mr Christian. It was only then that he was allowed to go after spending two hours in a holding cell, the suit claims.
The NYPD denied this and said the student was only held for 42 minutes.
The student, who has no history of arrests, said that he will never shop at Barneys again following the incident.
A Barney's New York spokesman said: 'Barneys New York typically does not comment on pending litigation.
'In this instance, we feel compelled to note that after carefully reviewing the incident of last April, it is clear that no employee of Barneys New York was involved in the pursuit of any action with the individual other than the sale.
'Barneys New York has zero tolerance for any form of discrimination and we stand by our long history in support of all human rights.'