Rappers Twista and Hurricane Chris are among the entertainers slated to perform at the Jena 6 Empowerment Concert.
The event, which will take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center in Birmingham, Ala. is designed to provide a platform for the hip-hop community to take a stand against what organizers feel are growing incidents that mirror the recent turmoil experienced by six Black students in Jena, Louisiana.
The students, known as the Jena 6, were initially charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit attempted murder in connection with the December 4 beating of a white student.
The incident was the culmination of months of racial tension following a black Jena High School students request for him and some of his friends to sit under an oak tree that became a frequent hang out for white students.
A day after the group sat under the tree, three nooses were found hanging from the branches.
Although the schools principal recommended that those responsible for the nooses be expelled, the Town Talk newspaper reported that three white students were suspended for three days for the action, which was labeled as a “prank.”
Soon after, the school became the site of an arson on the main academic building.
Four days after the Nov. 30 torching, Justin Barker, a white student, was jumped by a group of students who knocked him unconscious while stomping and kicking him.
Barker, who had injuries on both of eyes in addition to cuts, was later taken to a hospital where he was treated and released. Criminal charges were later directed towards the Jena 6.
Bail for the group was set between $70,000 and $138,000.
Although the parents of the Jena 6 said they heard Barker was hurling racial epithets, Barker’s parents argued that their son did nothing toencourage the beating.
On Sept. 14, the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Lake Charles threw out the conviction for second degree battery against one of the Jena 6 members, Mychal Bell.
According to reports, the court stated that the charges against Bell should have been presented in juvenile court.
Despite bail being posted for the other five students, Bell remains in jail as a judge cited his criminal record as the reason why his $90,000 bail was not lowered.
While charges were reduced from attempted second-degree murder to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy for Carwin Jones and Theo Shaw, Robert Bailey Jr. and Bryant Purvis, still face attempted murder charges.
The final Jena6 member is still waiting to go to trial for his role in the incident.
After hearing about the case, Jena 6 Empowerment concert organizer Abdul Chestnut felt compelled to contribute and coordinate resources to bring media attention to the issue.
Other performerson tapped for the Jena 6 Empowerment Concert include Nick Cannon, Sean P, Rasheeda, Baby Boy, B5, The LAX Boyz, Lloyd, former Xscape member Kandi Burruss, Tank, The Chestnut Brothers and Jagged Edge.
The weekend will include a press conference at 1 p.m. Sept. 28 in front of the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum.Apeace rally hosted by Cannon and Danity Kane member Aubrey O’Day will follow at 4 p.m. at Parker High School.
Tickets for the concert are available at the convention center box office and online via Ticketmaster.