Jean Charles de Menezes was a Brazilian living in south London. On the 22nd of July 2005, he was shot by police eight times, seven in the head. A day later, the Metropolitan Police said that he hadn't been carrying explosives and was in no way connected to attempted bombings on the city.
In the aftermath of this senseless killing, controversy grew over police procedure, and in particular their 'shoot to kill' policy. Before long, the Menezes family began a campaign called Justice For Jean, aiming to find out the truth about Jean's unlawful killing, bring those responsible for his death to justice, end the 'shoot to kill' policy to prevent similar tragedy and campaign against the rising tide of racism on civil liberties in the UK. Luton artist Hemy (pictured left) has created a track in support of the family's campaign, which is now rarely documented in the mainstream media. We caught up with him for a quick chat about his inspiration for the song, what he aimed for it to do and how we can support it.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the track?
Basically just me sittin' on trains, people lookin' at me funny, really sparked it all off. Like sittin' there wid my Ipod on thinking, will I get shot dead if I can't hear someone shouting at me from behind? Or, does this woman sittin' in front of me get scared and think I'm a terrorist?
What's the current status of the family's appeals?
Bro, the whole thing to me has been massively under publicised. The appeal needs a lot more support, and it's a massive blow that nobody was charged with anything for the crimes and lies that have been committed. I'm hoping with the use of the track 'Justice 4 Jean', we can blow the issue up. Spread the awareness to let the world know how we feel about this.
Isn't politics in hiphop dead?
Not at all man. There is some amazing talent out there talkin' some deep stuff up. Phi Life Cypher from my home town Luton, Lowkey. In the states, KRS One, Nas, Canibus, all talk up some issues… We definitely need more. Don't know if politics is the right word, but consciousness.
How can people find out more about the campaign for Jean?
They can log onto www.justice4jean.com Also, the BBC have been covering the topic very well.
When's the track getting released and how?
The track is currently out on the 'Peace Not War' mixtape, but you can buy the single from my myspace, or my website, www.hemyonline.com All the proceeds for the track are gonna go to raising awareness for Justice 4 Jean, and funding the video which is planning to have some big cameo appearances… Definitely one to watch out for.