“I am not a journalist, I am a songwriter and in the spirit and tradition of
the minstrel, I am telling a story in this song. The story is not, strictly speaking, about the town of Jena or this specific incident but of racism in America.
The song was not written as an indictment of the people of Jena but, rather,
as a condemnation of racism, a problem which I’ve reflected in many songs, a
problem that still plagues our country today. The current trial in Jena is just another reflection of prejudice in our nation. If the song strikes an emotional chord with people and if they examine it and interpret as they will, something will have been accomplished. The aim here is not to antagonize but, rather, to catalyze thought.”