Mellencamp Song Enrages Jena Mayor

Says comparison to civil rights era 'cheapens their sacrifice'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2007 5:39 PM CDT

(Newser) – John Mellencamp's song about the Jena 6 sparked the town's mayor to whip off a fax to the AP yesterday:  “Jena has for months been mischaracterized in the media and portrayed as the epicenter of hatred,” he wrote. “The Mellencamp video is so inflammatory, so defamatory, that a line has been crossed.” Mellencamp, whose song urges Jena to "take your nooses down," could not be reached for comment.

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Mayor McMillin says he has kept quiet to let the courtesy of Jena's people speak for itself. But Mellencamp's video was more than he could take. It “cheapened” civil-rights-era images, he wrote, by comparing them to Jena. In the video, Mellencamp sings that "An all-white jury hides the executioner's face" as images of Jena are shown with shots of 1960s marches and police beatings.

Mellencamp says the song was not “an indictment of the people of Jena, but rather a condemnation of racism." (Read more Jena Six stories.)

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