Jay-Z – under increasing pressure to back out of a collaboration with the luxury store Barneys New York after it was accused of racially profiling two black customers – said Saturday he’s being unfairly “demonized” for just waiting to hear all the facts.
The rap mogul made his first statement about the controversy in a posting on his website. He has come under fire for remaining silent as news surfaced last week that two young black people said they were profiled by Barneys after they purchased expensive items from their Manhattan store.
An online petition and Twitter messages from fans have been circulating, calling on the star to bow out of his upcoming partnership with Barneys for the holiday season, which will have the store selling items by top designers, inspired by Jay-Z, with some of the proceeds going to his charity.
But Jay-Z – whose real name is Shawn Carter – defended himself, saying that he hasn’t spoken about it because he’s still trying to figure out exactly what happened.
“I move and speak based on facts and not emotion,” the statement said. “I haven’t made any comments because I am waiting on facts and the outcome of a meeting between community leaders and Barneys.”
The two Barneys customers, Trayon Christian and Kayla Phillips, said last week they were detained by police after making expensive purchases.
Malaysia bans Ke$ha concert
Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia have banned a planned concert by U.S. pop singer Ke$ha after deciding it would hurt cultural and religious sensitivities. Concert organizer Livescape said it received a letter about the decision on the eve of the show that was to be held Saturday at a Kuala Lumpur stadium.
Ke$ha, whose hits include “Tik Tok” and “Die Young,” has songs that make explicit references to sex and liquor. Ke$ha and her team had previously agreed to modify their planned show in Malaysia, including making changes to her song lyrics and wardrobe, to comply with the government’s general guidelines for performers, Livescape said in its statement.
Last month, Malaysian officials also barred a performance by American metal band Lamb of God, accusing the Grammy-nominated group’s work of being blasphemous.
The birthday bunch
Actress Nanette Fabray is 93. Actress Ruby Dee is 91. Actor-comedian John Cleese is 74. Country singer Lee Greenwood is 71. Rock musician Garry Tallent (Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band) is 64. Actor-director Roberto Benigni is 61. Singer Simon Le Bon is 55. Rock singer Scott Weiland is 46. Actress-singer Kelly Osbourne is 29. Actress Christine Evangelista is 27.