Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jay Z: Slave profiteer

It might come as something of a surprise to discover that Jay-Z, rather than being a hip hop moghul as usually styled, turns out to be a profiteer from the African Slave Trade.

Well, that's what this bloke reckons, anyway, "this bloke" being Clive Campbell. Campbell has launched a five billion dollar lawsuit against Barclays Bank, Bruce Ratner and Jay-Z:

In the claim, Mr. Campbell said that Mr. Ratner and Jay-Z worked “in concert” with Barclays, and “profited from the African Slave Trade and continue to profit from these gains, through a conspiracy dating back hundreds of years and continue to date to oppress Black people, enslave them, unlawfully deport them to all corners of the Earth.”

Jay-Z's apparently on the list because he's supported Ratner's project to build a sports arena in Brooklyn - an arena which will be named after Barclays. Which seems somewhat tenuous even by the standards of the case.

We'd imagine Barclays aren't going to be earmarking five billion dollars in case this goes against them.

Oddly, though, according to the New York Observer report, Barclays isn't just sniffing that the case is without merit, but denies that it had anything to do with the slave trade. Interesting. Why, then, did the exterior of Martins Bank in Liverpool have carvings depicting the city of Liverpool being held aloft by African children? Martins now being part of Barclays. Through Martins, Barclays also absorbed Heywood's Bank, which had been founded by a pair of brothers who made their money from the Africa trade routes (and a spot of piracy).
[Thanks to Michael M]