Rock Star Donates $10,000 to 'Jena 6' Defense

Published February 11, 2008

Posted Sept. 19, 2007 – More than just Black folks are ticked off about the "miscarriage of justice" of six Black teens accused, last year, in the beating of a White schoolmate in the racially divided town of Jena.

And British rock star David Bowie proved just that on Wednesday. 

The NAACP tells The Associated Press that Bowie gave $10,000 of his own money to the legal defense fund for the six teens who have become known as the "Jena Six."

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"There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena," Bowie tells AP. "A donation to the "Jena Six" Legal Defense Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented."

The NAACP, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Southern University Law Center, has also been providing additional legal support and resources to the defendants' attorneys.

"We are gratified that rock star David Bowie was moved to donate to the NAACP's Jena campaign," NAACP National Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond said. "Mr. Bowie shares our outrage. We hope others will join him."

The case, involves the prosecution of 17-year-old Mychal Bell, Robert Bailey Jr., Theo Shaw, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, and an unnamed minor for their role in an alleged fight with a White classmate following a series of racial incidents in the town of 3,000 after three nooses were hung in a tree at Jena High.  The ropes appeared after a day after Black students sat under the tree, which was a usual hangout spot for White students.

The students who hung the nooses got a three-day suspension from school while the six Black students were charged with attempted murder after an alleged attack on 18-year-old Justin Baker.

Joe Cook, the executive director of the Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, says there is "obvious racial discrimination in this case," adding that it appears, "the Black students were singled out and targeted for some unusually harsh treatment."

Are you surprised by Bowie's donation?  Should Black entertainers follow his lead?  Click "Discuss Now," to the right, to post your comment.

Written by BET-Staff

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