Jay Z Pulls In Big Profits Despite Controversy at Barney’s

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By Daphne R

Jay-Z proves he’s above controversy by flipping the Barney’s racial profiling scandal to his advantage and pulling in big profits from the deal. He announced that he will be taking a ‘leadership role’ where this ‘disturbing’ issue is concerned and continue his partnership with the luxury, high-end retailer. He added, however, that all sales proceeds will be going to his non-profit Shawn Carter Foundation.

The Shawn Carter Foundation, also known as the Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund was founded as a non-profit 501c3 in 2003. It helps low-income students to further their college education. Scholarships are awarded to “single mothers, children who attend alternative schools, students who have earned a GED, students with grade point averages of 2.0 and students who have previously been incarcerated, etc. but desire a higher educational opportunity.” According to the website “over 750 students have received awards totaling over $1.3 million” in individual grants of $1,500 to $2,500.

Giving away $1.3 million in 10 years sounds like a drop in the bucket knowing that Jay Z is reportedly worth $500 million. But, the foundation is actually run by Gloria Carter, his mother. Ms. Carter takes no salary from working part-time at the foundation. Recent IRS 990 records show that the foundation reported $802.425 in revenue of which $132,819 was listed as expenses and $141,357 awarded in grants and services. The leaves the foundation a reserve of $528,249.

In a recent study of celebrity charity accounting, Erica Harris and Julie Ruth, co-authors of “The Relationship of Celebrity Affiliation to Nonprofit Contributions”, it was discovered that both for-profits (such as Barney’s) and non-profits prospered more when they aligned with a popular celebrity. They looked at 514 charities where 1.4 percent more was given to charities which averaged $100,000 per year.

Instead of looking closely at executive compensation and the amount the charity actually spent, large donors, giving $10,000 or more, looked for validation elsewhere. Harris said, ‘Donors felt that the celebrities provided a seal of approval.’

Harris provided a list of the top 15 celebrity charities and the Shawn Carter Foundation was not on the list. Top charities included champion surfer Kelly Slater’s foundation, Larry King’s cardiac foundation, Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation, Elton John’s AIDS foundation and the Jane Goodall Institute, as well as, charities headed by celebrities Michael J. Fox, Andre Agassi and Boomer Esiason.

According to Global Grind, The Shawn Carter Collection has produced $1 million in sales over a 6 weeks stint. The Shawn Carter Foundation will receive 100% of the sales from the Collection and 10% of Barney’s New York sales from the day the luxury collection hit stores as a result of the racial profiling scandal.


Daphne R is an experienced marketing and communications professional that provides social commentary, self-help, tips, and reports news of events that matter to African Americans.


  1. Devon

    January 7, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Good for Mr. Sean Carter. He’s proven himself to be a great business man.

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