Posted Oct. 9, 2007 – The mayor of Jena, La., – which is getting far more airplay than he likes – is steamed at rocker John Cougar Mellencamp for his latest release: “Jena, take your nooses down.”
Murphy R. McMillin, in a statement to The Associated Press, said his tiny town in north central Louisiana is getting dirt kicked on it.
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"The town of Jena has for months been mischaracterized in the media and portrayed as the epicenter of hatred, racism and a place where justice is denied," McMillin wrote. "Before all the hubbub over nooses hung on a tree at Jena High, which many believe sparked the alleged beating of a White student by six Black students, Jena was properly recognized as a peaceful place to live," the mayor said. "However, the Mellencamp video is so inflammatory, so defamatory, that a line has been crossed and enough is enough."
The only word from Mellencamp on the matter was posted on his Web site: “The song is not written as an indictment of the people of Jena but, rather, as a condemnation of racism.”
He’s letting the music video and words of his song say the rest: "An all-White jury hides the executioner's face; See how we are, me and you?" While the music plays, a camera pans Jena, the high school and the infamous White tree, under which Blacks were allegedly banned by White students from sitting. Then there are images from the 1960s – civil rights marchers, racist police officers and the KKK, and poor Black people.
Would you like to see others releasing songs about the Jena case? Click "Discuss Now," to the right, to post your comment.