Recently, The Reverend Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders in New York threatened a holiday season shopping boycott after meeting with Macy’s Inc Chairman Terry Lundgren to discuss accusations of racial profiling of shoppers.
The Reverend, who held a similar private meeting with the chief executive of upscale retailer Barneys New York Inc, set a deadline for Macy’s to submit a written plan to prevent the kind of discrimination alleged by two black shoppers last month. Macy’s said it would comply with the deadline.
“We are not, I repeat not, going to go through the holidays and have people shop where they are going to be profiled,” Sharpton told reporters outside Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan. “You can call it a boycott.”
Sharpton said he and others “felt betrayed” by Macy’s after black customers complained they were detained after making expensive purchases at the company’s landmark store in Herald Square.
Four black shoppers in separate incidents at Macy’s and Barneys have said they were detained at the two stores and later released without charges.
At the same time, Jay Z has taken to his site Life+Times to post a long statement about his holiday collaboration with Barneys, which has come under fire in light of reports that the store discriminates against black shoppers. Jay Z writes that he’s waiting for more facts about the recent racial profiling case before he takes any steps.
He speaks out against those urging him to pull out of the Barneys deal, likening those “snap judgments” to the act of racial profiling. He also emphasizes that he’s not benefiting financially from the deal, and that pulling out of the collaboration would primarily hurt those who benefit from the Shawn Carter Foundation (which will receive 25 percent of sales of the Jay-Z/Barneys holiday collection).
Jay-Z is a rapper, songwriter and businessman who has a net worth of $500 million. Jay-Z has earned his net worth through his career in the music industry, beginning as co-founder (with Damon Dash and Kareem Biggs) of Roc-A-Fella records, where he began his recording career. With continued success, Jay-Z’s net worth is expected to reach $1 billion or more within his lifetime. A truly incredible achievement for any celebrity.
Instead of meeting with Macy’s chairman, we should be meeting with Jay Z to establish an economic institution that will build Black economic power. With his net worth being what it is or said to be, why doesn’t Jay Z establish his own Jayzee’s or whatever he wants to call it, where he could not only sell his own clothing line, but employ the people who are now being profiled by stores like Macy’s and help bring down the unemployment rate in our community’s.
Not only could he employ our youth to work in his store, he could set up manufacturing outlets that make the cloth’s. Where our youth could work to in factories that he owns, providing more jobs for our community. Those cloths could be shipped by his own transportation company, or a Black owned company , that would create even more jobs for drivers and delivery people.
This would be a step towards building an institution that we control and that serves our economic interest. By creating jobs for our youth and putting “Benjamin’s” in their pockets, this would be a major tool to reduce unemployment in our community. In addition to reducing unemployment, it would reduce crime and gangs because our youth would become self sufficient. They could then go to school (preferably Historically Black Institutions) to learn how to become managers, designers, marketers and business owners who could duplicate Jayzee’s business model. No longer would they feel they have to sell drugs to make a living. They could now make clean money that they earn legally, while providing a service to their community.
Other groups have come together to build their own economic institutions that serve their interest and we should do the same. They know that you control your own destiny when you control your own institutions. Because when you own the institutions in your community, you can then set the policies that control it. You determine who gets hired, how much they make, what they make. What kind of benefits they get, their working conditions and everything else that it takes to run that business or institution. Developing your own institutions is necessary for survival. Because nobody else can determine if you work or how much you get paid to work. You make that decision based on the interest of your people.
It is time that we understand the need to build our own institutions. We must be willing to build our own businesses by urging our leaders who have access to money and influence to come together and develop their own businesses and institutions, rather than begging someone else to treat us right at their businesses. This is how we turn ghettos into oasis’s, where no longer are we plagued by crime and violence, but rather by prosperity, pride and hope generated from our ability to provide for ourselves, our children and our people throughout the African Diaspora. Until we do that, we will continue to fight with police, store clerks and business owners who don’t look like us, who are only doing their job to protect the business or institution they work for or own. No longer will we feel betrayed because someone has profiled us as criminals and thieves. Because with ownership, we now have the resources and means to support ourselves by supporting the businesses and institutions that support us.
It’s time to rise up and build true economic power, with our own Jayzee’s, if we are to change our conditions and repair what was stolen from us during slavery.
Written by Kefing Moor
Administrator for http://www.Facebook.com/AfricanMarketMall
Sponsored by: http://www.ArdyssLife.com/EmmasPlace