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    Jay Z Responds to Barneys Backlash, Defends Clothing Deal With the Company

    Jay-Z, The Great Gatsby Premiere Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

    Jay Z is speaking out after petitioners urged him to end his clothing deal with Barneys New York, citing the reported racial profiling of two customers in one of the retail stores in New York City.

    On his website Life +Times Saturday, the hip hop mogul said his collaboration with the retail store is rooted in charity and that he was waiting for all the facts to come in before making a decision.

    "This collaboration lives in a place of giving and is about the Foundation," Jay-Z said. "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."

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    Jay-Z Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

    The rapper went on to say that 25 percent of all sales from the collaboration would be donated to the Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides scholarships to needy students. Ten percent of all sales generated in the store Nov. 20 will also be donated, with Barneys making an additional donation on top of that as well.

    "This money is going to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships to help further their education at institutions of higher learning," he went on. "My idea was born out of creativity and charity…not profit."

    According to the Los Angeles Times, a young African American college student, Trayon Christian, was arrested in NYC after he made a $350 purchase at Barneys New York. His arrest reportedly occurred after a Barney's sales clerk called police because she thought the transaction was fraudulent. 

    A few days later, 21-year-old Kayla Phillips also came forward with a similar story, saying she was surrounded by police and questioned after she bought a purse from the store. She was reportedly also accused of using a fraudulent card. 

    News of the arrests sparked a petition on Change.org, which "lifelong Jay Z fan" Derick Bowers started in an effort to get the rapper to "withdraw his support" from Barney's and end his clothing deal with the company.

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    "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," Jay Z continued in the statement. "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."

    Jay Z, who said he's "no stranger to profiling," added, "Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change."

    The star's collaboration with Barney's—a collection of high-end merchandise, includes a $70 t-shirt, a Shawn ‘JAY Z' Carter for Stutterheim raincoat, and the pricey $33,900 Shawn Carter watch by Hublot, among other things.

    The collection is set to debut Nov. 20 at Barneys stores in select stores across the country.

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