Proper.’s Latest “Jean” Seeks Justice For Jeancarlo “Jean” Jimenez
By Nathan Leigh
April 5, 2023
“They let a brilliant mind like yours
Waste away behind a locked door”
The elaborate bureaucracy around immigration in the 21st century is designed intentionally to turn humans into numbers and condense stories down to statistics. It’s an intentionally inhuman system designed to shift responsibility for its cruelty onto the bureaucracy itself instead of the people responsible for it while erasing the existence of every person swept up in it. The story of Jeancarlo “Jean” Jimenez is an unmitigated tragedy. A brilliant young multi-disciplinary artist who had become a pillar of his arts community was taken by ICE in 2017, kept in solitary confinement for 2 and a half weeks despite a history of mental illness, and died by suicide as a result.
NYC punk rock trio Proper.’s latest is arts activism in the truest form. Not just a song commemorating Jean’s story, but a video sharing the highlights of his life from those who knew him, and a short documentary advocating for justice. The song comes from their standout LP The Great American Novel, but where most videos are effectively an advertisement for the album, with “Jean,” Proper. does the opposite. Using their platform and one of the record’s most unforgettable tracks to advocate for justice and to raise up an underheard story, their new single restores the humanity to a victim of ICE’s inhumane system. The single’s release supports Al Otro Lado and Detention Kills, the nonprofit run by Jean’s family.
Vocalist Erik Garlington explains “Jean was the first black rock musician I met after moving to the city post high school. He was a drummer, a carpenter, a model, and he spoke three languages. He had the makings of an all-star athlete and no one would’ve been surprised if he decided to run for office one day. But he was in the US ‘illegally’ so instead Jean, one of the most caring and hopeful people I ever met, died at 27. Justice for Jean.”
Follow Proper. at @likerealproper for more.
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