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Mellencamp: Jena, Take your nooses down video

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6flvlq7xjdg]

John Mellencamp has been in the studio working with producer T Bone Burnett on an intriguing new album. John has made a video for one of the new tracks titled “Jena.” Due to the newsworthy subject matter covered in the song, John did not delay releasing the video. The song and video are inspired by today’s headlines about the Jena Six.


Jena, Louisiana
Six black teenagers are accused of beating a white student.The incident followed white students hanging nooses from a tree on school grounds.Initially five of the “Jena Six” teens were charged with attempted 2nd degree murder, to be tried as adults by an all-white jury.

“Jena” lyrics:
An all white jury hides the executioner’s face
See how we are, me and you?
Everyone here needs to know their place
Let’s keep this blackbird hidden in the flue

Oh oh oh Jena
Oh oh oh Jena
Oh oh oh Jena
Take your nooses down

So what becomes of boys that cannot think straight
Particularly those with paper bag skin
Yes sir, no sir we’ll wipe that smile right off your face
We’ve got our rules here and you must fit in

Oh oh oh Jena (3x)
Take your nooses down

Some day some way sanity will prevail
But who knows when that day might come
A shot in the dark, well it just might find its way
To the hearts of those that hold the keys to kingdom come

Oh oh oh Jena (3x)
Take those nooses down

Oh oh hey Jena
Oh oh Jena
Oh oh Jena
Take your nooses down

Take those nooses all down
__

Related post: A White Person’s Meditation on the Jena 6 Students, by Kimberly Wilder

John Mellencamp’s web-site, with his personal reflections: here

13 Responses

  1. I think this was the best thing that a middle aged white man could do- to take a step out of a “comfort zone” and draw attention to the racism in this country. We may consider ourselves “The Land of the Free”, but the truth of the matter is taht people are still segregated by race, creed, and religion. There is still slavery in our very own country, as children are kidnapped and sold as sex slaves everyday. We need to open our eyes and see things for what they are. Enough sugar coating already- if we keep paving over the harsh truth, things will never get solved. For goodness sakes, do we not still have the KKK in our country? Do we not have illegal immigrants? Do most people not have a prejuduce over some race or religion. We have people who are accused of being terrorists because they are muslim, while the terrorists walk around wreaking havoc. We have people defiling Jewish Cemetaries, fighting over whether or not to have the Ten Commandments in public areas, and people being raped, tortured and murdered for the goshed darned color of their skin. Time to step it up a notch. Way to go, John!

  2. Thank you John Mellencamp, your voice is appreciated.

  3. While I understand the desire to get timely music to the public in a timely fashion, it’s important to get the facts straight. It’s just WRONG to turn the gang beating by six black students of one white student into a civil rights issue.

    Mychal Bell, the student who was previously convicted as an adult, is a multiple violent offender. Prior to his arrest, his mother had thrown him out of the house and he was living with white friends. He will now be tried in juvenile court and is out on the streets.

    When, and it is very likely there will be a when, Mychal Bell commits his next violent offense, I hope Mr. Mellencamp is available to provide publicity, aid and comfort to the victims, just as he has enabled and encouraged the lax treatment of these criminals.

  4. Response to Kimmy:

    Dear Kimmy,

    Since you are willing to take a stance against a teenager who is currently facing prison, I would ask that you take the time to study the situation more.

    There are other ways to prevent 16 year olds from beating people up, than putting them in jail. They could receive: counseling, an alternative school setting with more structure, withholding of privileges such as football and after school activities.

    I would urge you to read the article I wrote and attached to the video post. It is “A White Person’s Meditation on the Jena 6 Students”. It answers a lot of your concerns. But, even my article was not informed by other information coming from Jena, about how white students were beating up black students in the months after the noose incident, how white students were threatening black students with a gun, and how the DA who eventually prosecuted Mychal Bell, reacted to the nooses being hung by basically daring and threatening the black students not to respond.

    P.S. Who will provide aid and comfort to the victims of the noose hanging (which includes all the black students who were all being threatened.)

    Will you be there to provide aid and comfort to black teenagers, the next time someone threatens them with death?

  5. How many opportunities are we suppposed to give violent offenders? Here’s a link to Mychal Bell’s prior record.

    http://www.thetowntalk.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/99999999/NEWS/399990020

    According to the (black) federal attorney involved, the nooses had no relation to the beating of ONE student by SIX individuals, some of whom were not even fellow students.

    http://www.ktbs.com/news/U.S.-Attorney:-Nooses,-beating-at-Jena-not-directly-related-5110/

    That’s OK. Don’t let the facts get in the way of your indignation.

  6. Mychal Bell’s prior record would probably not be public, if he had been tried as a child, as he should have been.

    It is inane to say that the nooses had no relation to the beating. If someone threatened your life, whatever you did after that could be at least said to be influenced by the stress. A federal attorney cannot declare there is no connection between two events, and make it so.

    Also, I am curious. You are speaking of facts. Did you read my article about a White Person’s Meditation on the Jena 6 Students. Because, if you are going to go back and forth on the blog, and quote links for me, how about reading what I wrote, which starts off with: If someone is facing prison, and you are coming out publicly AGAINST them (which, trust me, the prosecutor could do all by himself), then you should probably not only study the situation, but the law.

    I’ve had enough. Take the last word if you like. (But, I do hope you read the article, first.)

    Thanks,
    Kimberly Wilder

  7. “so what becomes of boys that cannot think straight”
    What happens is they listen to and see video’s like this garbage by Mellencamp!! and paper bag skin…W.T.F.
    Mellencamps inciting violence and should be arrested….
    However you Americans have no leaders just self serving publicity seekers….
    MR. mellancamp shame on you!!!

  8. i blame the adults in the town for the attitudes of the children of the town. if the adults did not teach the children, by example, to be aggressive or repressive they would not be having these serious conflicts. whatever happened to boys having fists fights and calling it a day. generally children will have differences and maybe even fist fights, but if adults don’t blow it up, it will blow over. to say in deed that it is okay for the whites to attack the blacks in numbers, but not okay for the blacks to retaliate is a crime in itself. i bet some white adult put this kid up to pressing charges when he got beat up. i think all the black kids that have gotten beat up by the white kids in the past year should all go down to the prosecutors office and press charges. then lets see how many children are charged as adults.

    speaking of songs/videos: “the blood runs red down cherokee highway” is a great eye opener

  9. [Editor’s note: If I understand it, Renee agrees with me–Kimberly Wilder, blogger co-owner and author of “A White Person’s Meditation on the Jena 6 Students”– that the black teenagers were treated unfairly. But, in this thread, someone named Kimmy – a blog reader – disagreed with that premise. So, to clarify, this blog has a firm position that the correct thing to do is to call for dropping all charges against the Jena 6 students, and to do proactive workshops about Dismantling Racism in the Jena community — and every community across the nation. ~KW]

    Kimberly, I think you’re a little confused. You might want to check the facts before posting information that makes you look unintelligent. Because this is very much a civil rights issue.

    3 white boys are up in the face of one black boy. Taunting him and calling him the N word. Him and his boys jump them. 2 of the boy’s friends leave to get help leaving the 1 white boy to get beat up by 5 black guys because the 6th boy was not even involved. He got shoved down during the fight and several witnesses have spoken on this. This is what you call a schoolyard fight. There were no weapons. It was a fight. How do you explain those boys getting charged as adults for attempted murder??? Especially when the white boy that got beat up left the hospital and went to a party that very same night. ???

    Meanwhile, a white boy shoves a gun in the face of a black boy. The black boy wrestles the gun away and turns it into the police department. The black boy is arrested for battery and theft of the gun. NOTHING is done to the white boy.

    Another white boy attacked a black boy at a party. He beat him up and broke beer bottles over his head. This boy was charged as a minor and got 6 months probation.

    This is clearly a civil rights movement. Hale, even Stevie Wonder can see that.

    Here’s a link on the timeline of events so you can educate yourself on the situation.

    http://uspolitics.about.com/od/hotpoliticalissues/l/bl_jena6_timeline.htm

  10. […] Article: A White Person’s Meditation on the Jena 6 (re: education law, etc.) Music: Jena, Take Your Nooses Down – John Mellencamp […]

  11. Don’t believe the media lies! Read the real story here:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/1024/p09s01-coop.html

    –quote–
    Myth 1: The Whites-Only Tree. There has never been a “whites-only” tree at Jena High School. Students of all races sat underneath this tree. When a student asked during an assembly at the start of school last year if anyone could sit under the tree, it evoked laughter from everyone present – blacks and whites. As reported by students in the assembly, the question was asked to make a joke and to drag out the assembly and avoid class.

    Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students. An investigation by school officials, police, and an FBI agent revealed the true motivation behind the placing of two nooses in the tree the day after the assembly. According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of “Lonesome Dove.”) The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history. When informed of this history by school officials, they became visibly remorseful because they had many black friends. Another myth concerns their punishment, which was not a three-day suspension, but rather nine days at an alternative facility followed by two weeks of in-school suspension, Saturday detentions, attendance at Discipline Court, and evaluation by licensed mental-health professionals. The students who hung the nooses have not publicly come forward to give their version of events.
    –unquote–

    The media has an agenda and that is aggravating racial tensions. They want to enrage blacks against white and whites to drown in their own guilty feelings. Take a step back and think from a purely cosmopolitan viewpoint you will see I am right. And from the comments and responses from this whole ordeal it seems we are all rats following the pied piper.

  12. Arisch,

    None of these brain-dead know-nothings care a whit about the truth. I’ll guarantee you that John Mellencamp doesn’t care about the truth. He has a new song out and money pouring into his pockets. Does anybody actually believe he will pony and say, “I was wrong”? No way!

  13. This song SAVED MY LIFE.
    If Mellencamp didn’t write this song and this event never occured I wouldn’t be alive today.
    I tried to kill myself and I found this song the same day which prevented it.
    I thank John and his compassionate concern for such racial discrimatory slurs.

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