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Barneys, Macy's Expected To Hand Over Racial Profiling Policies By Friday

New York's Attorney General wants Barneys and Macy's to turn over their stores' racial profiling policies by this Friday (Nov. 1). The order follows Barneys making a series of headlines for allegedly discriminating against its customers, including 19-year-old Trayon Christian earlier this week.

Forbes reports:

State AG Eric Schneiderman’s decision to probe the two retailers follows a series of complaints about racial profiling in their Manhattan flagship stores, with African-American shoppers alleging they were unfairly questioned for credit card fraud after making pricey purchases.

Civil rights advocate Rev. Al Sharpton has dubbed the practice “shop and frisk,” a play on the controversial NYPD policy of searching pedestrians for weapons or contraband.

In the past week, the following have come forward with racial discrimination allegations, making front page headlines in New York’s tabloid press, sparking online outrage and now resulting in an AG investigation.

With rapper Jay Z's collection with Barneys slated to hit stores this holiday season, a petition was started, urging the music mogul to pull out of his collaboration. Shawn Carter then issued a statement on his Life+Times site.

"I am against discrimination of any kind, but if I make snap judgements, no matter who it’s towards, aren’t I committing the same sin as someone who profiles?" he wrote.

"I am no stranger to being profiled and I truly empathize with anyone that has been put in that position. Hopefully this brings forth a dialogue to effect real change."

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What We Know About R. Kelly's Sexual Abuse Charges

R. Kelly was indicted on 10 charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on Friday (Feb. 22). During a press conference held late Friday afternoon, prosecutors detailed each of the charges. R. Kelly's case involves four alleged victims, almost all of which were under the age of 17 at the time of sexual contact.

Here is what we know so far.

1. The first victim is identified by the initials HW, who is believed to have had sexual relations with Kelly from May 1998 to 1999. The charge was determined by the fact that during the time of their sexual encounters, HW was under the age of 17 while Kelly is alleged to have been more than five years older.

2. RL is the second victim that has been identified by prosecutors, who is believed to have been sexually involved with R. Kelly from 1998 to 2001. RL was believed to be under the age of 17, while Kelly was at least five years older.

3. The third victim, identified as LC engaged in sexual intercourse on Feb. 2003. The count was determined by semen found on the body for the purpose of "sexual gratification."

4. The fourth and final victim, identified under the initials JP, was involved in sexual incidents with the accused from 2009 to 2010. The charge was determined by JP being under the age of 17 while R. Kelly was believed to more than five years older.

5. If convicted, Kelly faces up to 70 years in prison.

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New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Reportedly Charged For Soliciting Prostitution In Florida

Owner of the New England Patriots, Robert Kraft, is reportedly being accused of two counts of soliciting prostitution in two separate instances at a Florida day spa, CNN reports.

In a recent press conference, Police Chief Daniel Kerr stated that Kraft’s charges stem from two separate visits he made to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Fla. However, a spokesperson for the NFL team denied all the charges against Kraft. "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further," the organization said.

Local authorities still confirm that the accusation is in conjunction with recent events that have taken place at the establishment, which also accused 20 other people of the same crime. According to Kerr, there is video evidence. The authorities involved in the crackdown revealed they wore body cameras during the operation.

Additionally, the police were involved in constant surveillance of the location. Authorities said they're not planning to release any video footage or documented evidence as of yet.

Kraft has been the owner of the Patriots since 1994. Further details for this story are pending.

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Tidal Announces Tidal Unplugged Program For Upcoming Artists

The Jay-Z owned streaming service is launching Tidal Unplugged, a program geared toward rising artists. The program has been bestowed with a $1 million fund, courtesy of its donors, venture capitalists and philanthropists, Mark Lampert and Robert Nelsen. The goal of the program is to gather emerging artists and provide them with support and tools to advance their music careers.

The selected, local artists will begin the program in Detroit, where Lampert's grandfather started his music career and will receive a grant that can cover necessary equipment, time in the studio, as well as living expenses amongst other things. There are plans to expand Unplugged to other locations, but as of right now it's solely in the Motor City.

"Kicking it off in Detroit, we're giving artists the means and resources to pursue their passion," Tidal said about Unplugged. "This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity allows aspiring musicians to dedicate more time and energy to seeking a career as an artist."

Unplugged will also allow the artists to maintain complete ownership of their recording masters from the four songs they will record when they make it to the first stage of the program. Additionally, Tidal plans to help the musicians with the distribution and promotion of their music, as well as help the artists prepare for a TIDAL Unplugged showcase concert later this year in November.

 

Detroit, welcome to TIDAL Unplugged. Up-and-coming artists are getting the opportunity to give their all to their music with our new artist grant program. Submissions open March 1. https://t.co/krL3l8HHGg pic.twitter.com/w30fElrp6N

— TIDAL (@TIDAL) February 21, 2019

Tidal Unplugged is calling for musicians of all genres in the birthplace of Motown Records, however, the announcement states that all submissions must be a cappella or performed acoustically with minimal use of digital components.

Detroit-area artists can apply for the program on Tidal's official website or here, starting on March 1, 2019. Finalists will be announced in May 2019.

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