21 Savage, real name Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is accused of being a British national living in the US under an expired visa, and has been detained by US immigration officials. A birth certificate obtained by Mail Online suggests he was born in Newham, east London. Bryan Cox, of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice), said: “He is unlawfully present in the US and also a convicted felon.”
Abraham-Joseph remains in custody, with his lawyer Charles Kuck arguing that he was being held thanks to “incorrect information”. He said: “Ice has not charged Mr Abraham-Joseph with any crime. As a minor, his family overstayed their work visas, and he, like almost two million other children, was left without legal status through no fault of his own. This is a civil law violation, and the continued detention of Mr Abraham-Joseph serves no other purpose than to unnecessarily punish him and try to intimidate him into giving up his right to fight to remain in the United States.”
A social media campaign, #Free21Savage, has also begun. Cardi B, the chart-topping rapper who collaborated with 21 Savage on her song Bartier Cardi, wrote on Instagram: “We will read and educate ourselves on this situation and we will take action! 21 did not come here illegally and was not caught doing anything illegal or doing any mischief! in fact he have change his whole life around and as ya can see he’s been very positive in his actions and music.” Other collaborators including rappers Quavo and Post Malone, and producer Metro Boomin, have also backed the campaign by Black Lives Matter.
Rapper Killer Mike also voiced support, tweeting: “My sincere hope is to see this young man who has made a way for himself allowed to stay and continue to prosper and grow his legacy.”