Jay-Z calls 21 Savage's US detention 'an absolute travesty', hires lawyer

Jay-Z’s lawyer Alex Spiro appointed to 21 Savage’s case to help rapper in fight against detention for an expired visa

Jay-Z has voiced support for the rapper 21 Savage, who has been detained by US immigration officials for living in the country under an expired visa.

Jay-Z called the detention “an absolute travesty. His U visa petition has been pending for 4 years. In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately.” He added the hashtag #Free21Savage, which was launched by the Black Lives Matter movement earlier this week and received support from other rappers including Cardi B and Post Malone.

Alex Spiro, Jay-Z’s lawyer, has been appointed to assist in 21 Savage’s case. “We are not going to stop until he is released, bonded out or in front of a judge,” Spiro told Variety. “What we have here is someone who overstayed their visa with an application pending for four years – not a convicted criminal that needs to be detained and removed but, by all accounts a wonderful person, father, and entertainer who has a marijuana offense which was vacated and sealed.”

Spiro is also working with Jay-Z on his clothing label dispute with Iconix, and recently helped temporarily halt the case on ground of racial bias. Iconix has not commented on the decision.

It emerged that weekend that 21 Savage (real name Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph), is a British national. His representatives have since said that he was born in the UK, moved to the US aged seven, and that his legal status there expired in 2006. They allege that once 21 Savage discovered his status had lapsed, he applied for a visa.

His representatives also argue that he can apply for a “cancellation of removal” given his ties to the US: “Mr. Abraham-Joseph has three US citizen children, a lawful permanent resident mother and four siblings that are either US citizens or lawful permanent residents. He has exceptionally strong ties in the United States, having lived here since he was in the first grade.”

They add that he is eligible for bail, an argument also made by Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation, which posted the message: “Person only charged as ‘visa overstay’ is bond eligible. 21 Savage should be released immediately.”


Ben Beaumont-Thomas

The GuardianTramp

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