What’s up with Jay Z?

prior probability is a big fan of Jay Z, but his recent mishaps are causing us to update our “Jayzian” priors.  For example, we were disappointed when Jay Z visited socialist Cuba last spring but did not use this opportunity to speak “truth to power” (*) by criticizing the lack of artistic freedoms and property rights on the Island. (Had he been born in Cuba, it is doubtful whether the Cuban government would have allowed him to pursue his musical career and other business interests.)  More recently, he has also refused to sever his ties with Barneys New York, despite several well-publicized incidents of racial profiling by the store’s employees. In both cases, is Jay Z simply following the path of least resistance, or there some deeper method to his “badness”?

(*) By the way, the same can be said of former President Jimmy Carter and the late, great pope John Paul II, both of whom offered bland and pusillanimous self-censored remarks (i.e. no direct criticisms of Cuba’s tropical dictatorship) during their respective visits to the Island many years ago.

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2 responses to “What’s up with Jay Z?

  1. This begs me to ask. . . Are we telling Jay Z to stop being a business man and be a civil rights activist? Barneys is big business for Jay, at the end of the day they will pay big bucks, and whats with everyone getting criticized for profiling and not wanting their stores to get robbed. I am black myself and I am more concerned with the blacks who do steal rather than the ones who get profiled for stealing. Those bad apples are spoiling it for the whole bunch and and giving life to the stereotype.

  2. I think Jay-Z did a cost-benefit analysis and at the end of the day, it was more profitable to not sever ties with Barneys. From a business standpoint, it makes sense. From a moral standpoint, he could have done more and “stood up” for the racial profiling. I guess people like Jay-Z don’t get to be where they are without sacrificing certain things; in this case, people may think he’s a sell out, but on the other hand… I think any reasonable business person would do what’s best for their business and the people they financially represent. Maybe it’s a tough choice..

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