Bowie helps fund the legal defence of six black teenagers in Jena

David Bowie has donated £5,000 to a legal defence fund for six black teenagers charged with attacking a white classmate in the tiny Louisiana town of Jena.

The case has split America with its overtones of institutional racism that hark back to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

It concerns the fate of Mychal Bell and five other teens – known as the Jena Six – who were found guilty of assault by a six-member, all-white jury.

Mychal is due to be sentenced on Thursday, despite the ruling being overturned by the Court of Appeal.

‘There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena,’ says David Bowie in an e-mail statement.

‘A donation to the Jena Six Legal Defence Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented.’

More than 10,000 marchers are expected to descend on Jena this Thursday to support Mychal, who’s bail has been set at £45,000.

‘We are gratified that rock star David Bowie was moved to donate to the Jena campaign,’ says civil rights leader Julian Bond.

‘We hope others will join him.’

Phil Boucher