Officials at Tennessee’s Davidson County Jail (DCJ) are outraged at being “duped” into allowing a film crew record inside DCJ under the guise of creating a documentary and then seeing it be transformed into a music video.
Rapper Struggle Jennings, whose real name is William Harness, was serving time at DCJ when he arranged for a film crew to come inside the jail.
“They came to us saying they wanted to shoot a documentary,” said DCJ spokesperson Karla West. “A lot of people have stories to tell that might help a young person change their life and make sure they don’t end up in jail; there are messages to be told.”
Two weeks before he was transferred to the Northeast Correctional Complex, a film crew was allowed to enter DCJ. West and a guard accompanied the crew and Struggle Jennings. It had the appearance of a documentary filming.
“They sat there and asked him 20 minutes' worth of questions, just as they would with any documentary about his life and different things like that,” said West. “At the end they asked, as part of the documentary, could he mouth some of the words of his song, and I allowed that.”
It was those final moments that were used in Struggle Jennings’ rap music video Black Curtains. It was posted on Harness blog and YouTube.
“Again, we were duped when it seems, as though now, their purpose from the beginning was to try and get that accomplished so it could turn into a video, not a documentary at all,” said West, who noted the song is a message for Struggle Jennings’ son to not follow the path that put him in jail. “The lie completely covers up whatever the message of the song.”
The video’s production company, Creativity for Hire, has been asked by Sheriff Daron Hall to remove footage of DCJ, anything related to the sheriff’s office and of the guard from the video. He is exploring options.
“We don’t want people to believe we would just open our doors and allow this to happen and know it,” said West.
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