"Jena 6" the Latest Rap Group?

Jena 6

Carwin Jones and Bryant Purvis, two of the teens known as the "Jena 6." Pouya Dianat/AJC hide caption

toggle caption Pouya Dianat/AJC

No, these two don't have the latest hit on the Billboard charts.

They are Carwin Jones and Bryant Purvis of the so-called "Jena 6." The two walked the red carpet of the 2007 BET Hip-Hop Awards, held this weekend in Atlanta.

According to those in attendance, they spoke briefly about the case before presenting the Hip-Hop Video of the Year Award.

Though their cohort Mychal Bell is back behind bars, that didn't stop the two from hamming it up for the cameras (even holding up the number six with their fingers).

What does it say about the culture's celebrity obsession that these two would be feted as stars? Do you think their participation in the award show undermines the gravity of the situation in Jena, La.?



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Are these guys trying to break into the music industry by using the hype of Jena 6? I'm not the type to stop a brother's hustle but come on! These brothers should have a semblance of decency for goodness' sake. And another thing; where are their parents?

Sent by Moji | 1:51 PM | 10-15-2007

By now, I believe they are 18, which technically deems them as adults. I'm not saying that this was the best move that they could have made, but they are young and have been through so much this year. Let them have fun. I don't condone, however, them using the situation to smooze with celebrities.

Sent by Shardonay | 2:26 PM | 10-15-2007

Why are we surprised? These young men are a product of our "celebrity obsessed" society. Come on; put yourself in their shoes. You're young, you're impressionable, and you've been conditioned to obsess over celebrities and material wealth and someone comes along and offers you the opportunity to be part of a hip-hop celebrity moment -- perhaps a chance at stardom (if only for a few minutes), sure you are going to jump at it. I don't have a problem with them attending this event.

Remember, the Jena 6 issue is not about the individual. It is about the unjust, unfair, and unequal criminal justice system and the criminalization of children.

And someone please tell me, what is it that makes their presence at the BET event inappropriate?

Sent by C. Robinson | 3:02 PM | 10-15-2007

I don't think it is as complex as some of us are bent on making it. If you will recall Mos Def was one of the first artist/activists to get involved in this case. He also stated he was on a mission to bring the relevance of this case to the generations of artists who have been directly impacted by this always topical issue: the demonization of the African American male by media and the criminal justice system. I'd much rather have these two young men at an awards show than being chased by white men with shotguns in Jena, LA. We must not forget that many in the media are co-conspirators in the trivializing of issues impacting our people. As an example: recall the white minister who was trying to convince some of the Jena 6 parents of the harmlessness of the nooses: he said he "played with nooses all the time as a child."

Sent by Gloria Alee | 6:02 PM | 10-15-2007

This is the most disturbing thing about this case. It should be very clear to everyone. that many in the black community want to live by a double standard not by what is RIGHT & WRONG. Otherwise why on earth would you invite two people who have clearly committed a crime against another person and treat them like celebrities instead of like the criminals they are.

Sent by RAYMOND ARROYO | 7:46 PM | 10-15-2007

Hmmmm....Free country. Hang nooses... Hang out at an award show.......

Sent by positive parent | 7:58 PM | 10-15-2007

I would have to challenge Raymond Arroyo's statement about what he views as "double standards" about right and wrong and who clearly committed a crime in this situation. Does Mr. Arroyo know that before Justin Barker was beaten that he was racially taunting some of the boys who had been threatened by a man with a shotgun, who took the shotgun from the man, went to the police for help and who themselves were arrested? Does he know that the person wielding the shotgun was NOT arrested? Does Mr. Arroyo know that when one of the Jena Six boys went to a mixed race party he was beaten and chased by whites who were not arrested for the assault. I am curious about why it is so clear to Mr. Arroyo that many in the black community want to live by a double standard, why is he so clear that black people want to be treated like "celebrities rather than the criminals they are."
As someone with a Hispanic surname in this country I am dismayed and surprised that he is not clear about the history of racial politics in this country. If he were clear he would know that what has been perpetrated against us and incorporated into the institutionalized racism we live with everyday is in fact an ONGOING CRIME. And if his concern is about criminals maybe he can join Jimmy Carter to work against the torture that our government is involved in here and throughout the world. Shame on you, brother Arroyo.

Sent by Gloria Alee | 9:43 PM | 10-15-2007

Lets analyze a hypothetical scenario - If this were 50 years ago and these were two of the little rock nine attending a Jackie Wilson or Sam Cook concert it would not be a problem. We cannot forget that these are still teenagers. I don't think they should use the Jena situation as a way to obtain "HOLLYWOOD" status - I.E. throwing up the six fingers like a gang sign. These young men are still allowed to have fun - Heck - Justin Barker went out to have fun the day he was released from the hospital.

Sent by Russell Randall | 9:27 AM | 10-16-2007

Raymond , Raymond Raymond let he who is innocent throw the first stone... For your actions known and un known you should be judged and treated. I think the time they have spent in jail has served as more than the pond of flesh they owe to society for the act they commited. When can we expect you to check in with your cofession of guilt for all of your illegal actions...will you just remain a criminal on the run unwilling to pay your debt to society. put the stone down my brother and pick up the cross of humility and forgiveness.

a fellow sinner living by grace

Sent by Jon Sanders | 5:28 PM | 10-16-2007

Are you kidding me? That's a slap in the face to anyone who's a human being, either black or white, or any color for that matter. It shows disresprct and not an ounce of remorse for them to attend. A SMALL amount of blame should be on htem though. For BET to even fathom the notion that this would be a good thing is mind boggling. I'm white, and I think it's despicable for this to have happened. i would be just as disgusted if th were whites attending after they were charged with beating a black person. BET shows no class at all for allowing such a stunt. others who've commented have also gotten many of the "facts" wrong. PLEASE go to some news websites and read up on the truth, not the Al Sharpton truth, but the truth reported by both white AND black journalists. I assume TI's arrest the night of the awards show for conspiring to buy a machine gun and silencers, who was caught red handed is OK by you folks as well. Too bad it didn't happen days before the awards, BET could have created a special award for him and invited Mike Tyson to present.

Sent by Rap Slap | 6:33 PM | 10-16-2007

Timing is everything. No one is telling these teenagers not to have fun - just don't be cheesing it for the cameras a few days before the congressional hearing on the Jena 6 case.

And for the person who used the Justin Barker example going to a party the same night of his assault; how did that fare with Mychal Bell spending ten months in jail? It just shows you that black folks are not measured by the same yardstick as whites.

Sent by Moji | 8:40 AM | 10-17-2007

So let me see if I understand this correctly: some kid makes a snide remark and you now have the right to beat him unconscience and proceed to kick him in the head while he lays there? So does that mean that the next time a black kid makes a smart alec remark to some white kid that white kids can get together and beat that black kid stupid?
And then, as a reward for not being able to live by the "sticks and stones" rule, that white kid shows up at the Academy Awards as a presenter?

This is plain wrong. These kids are being rewarded by not only bad judgement but bad behavior. What a great role model they are for the rest of young black America. Just act out and we will reward you.

Anyone who agrees with putting these kids up as model citizens has a lot to learn about the real black community that do not approve of this.

And you're right, Moji, black folks are not measured by the same yardstick as whites. So please tell me, when was the last time a white kid that beat the hell out of a black kid was honored by a bunch of white music artists? Or by any group of white professionals?

There are no good guys in this case but now that the Justice Brothers (Sharpton and Jackson)are involved, we see young adults that should be taught that you don't react to adverse behavior with more bad behavior being taught just the opposite.

Sent by retire05 | 11:06 AM | 10-18-2007

I find it unseemly that 2 kids who kicked another boy in the head while he lay unconscious would be invited by a large corporation to present at an awards show.

I realize that disparities exist in the American judicial system, but that does not excuse the violent, criminal behavoir of these two people.

Sent by just,wow | 11:48 AM | 10-18-2007

rap-is crap

Sent by t | 12:58 PM | 10-18-2007

Lets see here. Justine Barker ganged up on 1 black at a party, carried a shot-gun on school property, taunted a person about the gang-up & you don't see his violent behavior.

Oh silly me...he's white! Move along, nothing here to see.

Sent by Anna | 1:19 PM | 10-18-2007

This just serves to illustrate the glorification of violence, crime and notoriety that are the real root of so many problems (racial and otherwise) in our society. No one except the individuals actually involved knows the real truth of the case. However, even reading the facts presented in the most favorable possible light to these young men (and considerable evidence has been put forward to suggest the opposite) what they did is no cause for celebration or praise.

The victim of their attack, at the very worst was guilty of insulting them....and was not party to any of the other provocations that were ALLEGED to have occurred prior. That is not deserving of so much as a single punch, let alone being attacked by a gang of 6 individuals, being beaten senseless and then continue to be beaten while prostrate on the ground unable to even defend oneself. That they may have been subject of unequal prosecution in no way excuses or mitigates the original actions of Mr. Jones and Mr. Purvis that placed them in such circumstances in the first place.

Their actions were neither courageous nor laudable in any way and rather exemplify the very worst in human behavior. That BET should choose to honor them does a disservice to it's audience and sets exactly the wrong example for our youth. There are many young African American males that serve in our armed forces, as law enforcement officers, firemen or emergency responders. Such individuals place their lives on the line in service to others every day, often with very little recognition of the sacrifices they make. When was the last time BET chose to invite one of them to an awards ceremony?

Sent by Astonished | 1:43 PM | 10-18-2007

Moji, they're not cheesin...they are simply standing in front of a camera on red carpet with sunglasses and "urban" clothing...The ONLY reason we feel this is wrong...........is because of how THE MEDIA has conditioned US(A) to view young black men wearing anything less then a suit (Very European Definition of Acceptable) as being bad.


The only problem with this image is how its being perceived. If you ask me...they should've worn a suit!!! so everyone can stop crying...sayin stuff like, "They think they're hot," "Are they tryin to get a deal?," "Did they go to the after party?".....who cares...."JENA 6" is NOT about that. It is about exposing the injustices of this RACIST ass system.
Like, police brutality & officers being suspended with pay. The San Franisco 8. Mumia. Habeas Corpus. & Kids being tried as adults.

And so attending the BET awards show would have been a prime opportunity to do so, but since they forgot to wear suits we didn't listen to them as they presented the Best Hip Hop video of the year award.

Example: Al Sharpton wears suits all the time...So of course he means "business".....right???????? ("Justice Brother's" my...A**)

(the media)
Stop believing everything they tell you.

Sent by Jeff | 1:56 PM | 10-18-2007


Before you start calling me out, please look at the whole pictures of the boys at the awards goofing off.

Sent by Moji | 3:21 PM | 10-18-2007

How pathetic!!! How can six cowards be given star status!! Six cowards beat one boy! PATHETIC!!!!!!!!

Sent by queenbee | 6:28 PM | 10-18-2007

How can you say that they were hammering it up when they went though bull crap let someone put a noose on a tree and how you like it.

Sent by Antwan Stokes | 6:43 PM | 10-18-2007

This is typical of an organization like BET. They celebrate the worst of the worst. BET seems to think that this is a positive message, to have a thug mentality instilled into their culture. They seems to be proud of that, next year maybe they can get Michael Vick to present best Hip Hop award.

Sent by Ryan Specht | 12:35 AM | 10-19-2007

Terrible spelling and grammar by some of you morons.

Sent by Ryan Specht | 12:37 AM | 10-19-2007

that's real cute isn't it. how about six white kids that punch a black kid in the back of the head and then stomp on his head and kick him in the face get honored on TV and let's see what happens. this is disgusting honoring these no good cowardly THUGS that kick and stomp on an unconscious white kid's head! this is disgusting that these LOSERS are being honored in this way. disgusting! what's the matter with some blacks in this country? if a group of six white kids stomped on some black kid's head we whites wouldn't be putting them up on a pedestal as if they were some kind of heroes!

Sent by mike o'brien | 12:37 AM | 10-19-2007

Hey Antwan Stokes, 1) This kid that got his head stomped on had absolutely nothing to do with the noose incident you moron. 2) If you think a noose in a tree is justification to punch someone in the back of the head knocking them unconscious after which six guys stomp on your head is ok you're a sick person and you need professional help! Tell you what I'll give you a choice. You can look at a noose in a tree or have six white guys stomp on your head while your unconscious! Which would you pick you fool! One hurts no one physically and the other could've resulted in permanent brain damage or death!

Sent by mike o'brien | 12:43 AM | 10-19-2007

They look like the fools they are!

Sent by mike o'brien | 12:50 AM | 10-19-2007

What can you expect from BET Respectable choices??. Look at their shows and thug rap artist they honor.
There is nothing wrong with the Jena six defendants attending the show or meeting with the attendees. Where the line was crossed is having them present and and receive celebrity attention. Regards of the other incidents, they WILLINGLY BEAT UP one person. What if that person was your son or family member. BTW Russell 100% difference between Little Rock Nine and Jena Six.Try reading some history

Sent by hawkie | 10:46 AM | 10-19-2007

Black, White......It doesn't matter. Committing crimes should not give people celebrity status.

Sent by Tim Ruane | 11:06 AM | 10-19-2007

"Black, White......It doesn't matter".
Then why did the Jena 6 receive harsher sentences! Get f-ing real people. An injustice is happening in Jena. The DA should be stripped of his license & disbarred....end of story.

Sent by blackberry wine | 2:54 PM | 10-19-2007

I can certainly understand why Carwin and Bryant jumped at the opportunity to be around artists they admire. Any small town kid would have done the same. I'm not as comfortable with the BET folk for issuing the invitations without checking with the attorneys representing these young men. Finally, the guilt of these defendants is not as obvious as some believe. Just wait for the trials (if trials there be) and you will know what I mean.

Sent by Alan Bean | 3:24 PM | 10-19-2007

This is absolutely pathetic. Gloria Alee should be ashamed of herself for condoning this, as should any self-respecting American. To kick somebody in the head while they are unconscious risks killing them. For six people to do it is insane. If the atmosphere was that intimidating for thes 6 boys, I don't think they would have risked killing somebody as they certainly knew they risked doing.

Sent by Jed Johnson | 4:29 PM | 10-19-2007

I don't think this was an appropriate move for these young men to be presenters at the BET awards. I watched it that night and I was some dissapointed when they came out there all smiles, acting like celebrities, espicially Mr. Purvis, it seems like he was really enjoying the attention. Being a black person from Louisiana, I feel that it just made us all look really bad after we showed them all that support and they have the nerve to go there. I just feel that added to more labels they were and are given, they have already been on so many stations on TV, it's enough. I think if the guys would have come out there with a nice shirt and tie without the dark shades it would have looked much more presentable or even not come out at all and had something pre-taped showing their thankfulness. And why did the parents condone this...you know it's probably being from a small country town...with all this hipe they don't realize what impact this had on others...Why don't they encourage their children to go around and encourage other youths to stay out of trouble and do something decent with their lives? That's all, I'm not trying to beat them down...it just was not the right move at this time. I wish someone would give them some advice not to go on any more shows and focus on what the future holds for their children.

Sent by Mrs. CP | 12:07 AM | 10-27-2007

Man i think some of you all who think that is inappropriate for the boys to be at the awards show are haters!!!They deserve a break after being accused of beating that white boy's a**.BET is the best.So what they have all the rap videos and thug rappers. What about MTV and their gothic looking artists who wear black and jump up and down breaking guitars and crap?? So dont hate on them just let them do what they do and tell them boys in Jena to quit talking noise and hanging nooses and they won't get stomped.

Sent by ThunderBird | 12:01 PM | 11-1-2007

I didn't see the BET awards because I'm not a BET fan. However, it appears to me that again the behavior of Black youth is being criminalized. So what if these two young guys were joking around. So what if they held up six fingers. What does that have to do with a gang sign? What we are missing is the symbolism or hatred and racism that brought all of this about starting with the need of the black guys to feel that had to ask to sit under a tree in a free country and after being told it was ok..then to have nooses hung from the tree after they sat there. This is what we had better deal with before this country is destroyed by all of us who are silent. I read all of these postings and I say God help us!

Strange Fruit hanging from the Magnolia Tree.

Sent by Dianna Freelon-Foster | 4:09 PM | 11-2-2007

So let's think logically, according to the diversity racist crowd...

Had the 6 boys worn suits to the beating party they would have garnered respect for kicking someone to near death. Fortunately, Al & Jesse were able to rescue them because they wore suits.

Note to self; next time whitey gets a beatin', wear your suit!

Sent by Mayo | 11:19 AM | 11-8-2007

WOW,they are just kids/YOUNG ADULTS can they just have a moment to be just that......

Sent by Marcy | 8:36 AM | 11-12-2007

As an African-American, this is ridiculous. Why are they treated like heroes. What have they done that showed courage. Unlike victims who are ripped from their beds and convicted of crimes where they weren't even present, these young men aren't innocent bystanders. They had a role to play. Are we so deficient in role models who really sacrificed that we would just pick anyone to represent the face of Black America?

Sent by Nicole | 5:37 PM | 11-12-2007

Who cares? Give the lil punks their 15 minutes and see em' smoke it up like a cheap $5 dolla rock.

Let black america figure it out the hard way when they wonder why racism gets a kick start off the ridiculous stunt of an obvious racist network.

It all equals out in the end boys.

Sent by Stephen | 1:06 AM | 11-14-2007

I'd like to say this to everyone, who said how unfair it was for 6 guys to beat up one white guy. When they do it to us and get away with it,everything is fine. When I think of nooses', I see the photo of black men being hung and the whites are taking photo's and smiling and having a picnic. I say you made up the rules, so stop hollowing foul when we play by the rules you made up. In fact I would call on all black men, women, boys and girls to wip that ass every chance you get.

Sent by jerome cross | 9:07 AM | 11-26-2007

All ya'll people are crazy. Let them have they fame in the spotlight. So what they went on BET! If it was the other way around I bet nothing would have happened to them but since its the other way around ya'll wanna get mad! Leave them alone Justice will be served at God's time!

Sent by Get A LIFE! | 12:18 PM | 11-29-2007

Surprise surprise surprise, Bryant Purvis was arrested and charged with another assault. Looks like he is well on his way to being thug rapper, hold the rapper.

Sent by ron | 1:08 PM | 2-8-2008

I wonder what would have happened had 6 "white" kids jumped a "black" student... everybody and their moms would be yelling it's a hate crime... you still would have had al sharpton and whoever else there, making known it was a racially motivated incident, instead in this instance, they're making it known that it it IS a racially motivated incident, that these poor kids were being singeled out because they were black... I think that this society has twisted itself into its own demise. Clearly, this was a racially motivated crime... I'm not saying the white kid wasnt asking for an ass beating... but beating another person for simply being stupid, and immature.... should not be accepted, nor should it be sensationalized by the likes of BET... Having these violent criminals presenting awards, is a desperate cry for help..Our society is crumbling, and we have our heads so far up our asses we cant see it!

Sent by Kris | 4:04 PM | 2-9-2008

I Watched the BET show that night and I was happy to see thems boys up there the only reason they went up there to let America know how things need to change what the white students did was wrong for what they did. they knew hanging nooses on a tree would start up to a big fight around school did they think the black students was just goin to walk past not caring NO!!!! They felt hurt knowing what the great Black leaders did For Them In The World then all turns around and had to break out like this! Ms.Parks sit on the bus cause she had a right to sit down and them six black students had the right to sit down too!!!!!

Sent by Neishai | 12:48 PM | 3-18-2008

BET, despite what many people may think, de-, not pro-, -motes, that is demotes, black Americans every day. The shows they show, like college hill, this unconditional worship of the Jena 6, and their constant obsession with thug life do nothing to raise up the black community and everything to bring it down. Shame on them. They have abandoned their duty to uplift their fellow brothers in the search for worldly goods.

Sent by Ned | 12:52 PM | 4-20-2008


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