21 Savage is a British immigrant currently detained by ICE and is in danger of being deported back to the UK… I’m sorry but that’s funny to me.
If you’re familiar with 21 Savage — from his Grammy nom’s to the “Issa Knife” movement, the gripping Breakfast Club interview where he shared bone-chilling testimonials that left the room breathless, to the “on god” ad-libs and all that encompasses the “Zone 6 rapper from Atlanta” — its comedy that writes itself.
The news was reported Super Bowl Sunday and has had the internet in a fury.
Ima be honest, if 21 Savage admits he’s been trolling us the whole time in an apology that involves him speaking in a British accent, it would simultaneously be the most hurtful and the most amazing moment of my life.
— OMG, LaJethro (@LaJethroJenkins) February 3, 2019
You really can’t blame 21 Savage for wanting to live in Georgia. Great Britain has zero SEC championships.
— Three Year Letterman (@3YearLetterman) February 4, 2019
The knee-jerk response to hearing that a gangster rapper from the streets of Atlanta is actually a bruv from the UK is bonkers. It’d be dishonest to think at least one person wouldn’t find that amusing, or that they’d be wrong in doing so.
Back in 2017, after spending a decade away from the spotlight, Grammy award-winning stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle returned with two Netflix specials, The Bird Revelation and Equanimity — both received critical acclaim.
In The Bird Revelation, he speaks on his style of comedy which tends to flirt if not dance on the line what’s ‘PC’ and how it contrasts to the hyper-reactive society when now live in. In his explanation, Dave says something incredibly applicable to what has transpired with 21 Savage and the jokes that have come in the aftermath of this blindsiding news:
“Sometimes the funniest thing to say is mean. “You know what I mean? Tough position to be in. So I say a lot of mean things, but you guys gotta remember: I’m not saying it to be mean. I’m saying it because it’s funny. And everything’s funny ’till it happens to you.”
Filmed in secret last month, in front of just 50 people. The Bird Revelation, one of two new Chappelle stand-up specials, streams tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/eqpTaENSpR
— Netflix Is A Joke (@NetflixIsAJoke) December 30, 2017
And he’s right. When it’s not you, it’s easy to disregard how hard it is for someone else.
Don’t get me wrong, once you process what fully transpiring with 21, with the potential of he being separated from his children and family and how much he could lose in business, it’s far from a laughing matter.
Born Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, 21 has been doing positive work in his community.
He organizes an annual back to school drive in his home town where spent his formative years and last year he hopped on Ellen to launch his 21 Savage Bank Account Campaign, which partnered with non-profit organization Get Schooled and promised 21 teenagers $1,000 each in a scholarship fund to help them take on the challenge of financial literacy.
The 21Savage arrest is beyond sad, he has been doing such incredible things in the community and changing the stigma of people perceive rappers to think/be.
— Karen Civil (@KarenCivil) February 3, 2019
This 21 savage situation is so wild for so many reason especially the timing tho
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) February 3, 2019
If you've been following 21 Savage in any capacity you've seen the money and time he's invested in his community. This country has an agenda to destroy people like that.
— Natalie James (@NJinLA) February 3, 2019
I've written before about the Dreamer/DACA narrative folks love to deploy that throws undocumented parents under the bus: Dreamers were "brought here through no fault of their own." It's interesting to me that this fucked up narrative isn't even being deployed for 21 Savage.
— Tina Vasquez (@TheTinaVasquez) February 4, 2019
The timing of all of this is indeed suspect and knowing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s reputation, 21 could be in real danger.
The same policies on the border that’s led to the cruel family separations among asylum seekers, of which they’ve admitted they can’t reunite with their families, is the same ICE that’s after 21 and other longtime residents.
These seemingly arbitrary deportations of undocumented “Dreamers” who crossed the border as children are dehumanizing and have even led to an #AbolishICE campaign.
ICE arresting celebrities to divert attention from the fact they just admitted they can’t reconnect kids with their parents and y’all eating it up. Yikes.
— alex tumay (@alextumay) February 3, 2019
According to ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox, 21 is a citizen of the United Kingdom and entered the US legally in July 2005 when he was a minor. He’s since failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa meaning he became unlawfully present when his visa expired in July 2006. ICE said in a statement,
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody in Georgia and has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts. ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions.”
The only reason 21 was founded out was because he was with his cousin and East Atlanta rapper Young Nudy, who was apprehended yesterday as part of “an operation targeting him and two other men. According to CBS News, 21 was in the car with Thomas and the two other men, which led to his arrest by ICE.
How can you expect an individual, in that split moment, to process all of that before making an assessment that it’s actually a real-life crisis?
Even as the story’s developed and new reports, like the confirmation of his birth certificate being from the UK, comes out, it still has a tinge of comedy about the whole thing. It’s truly remarkable.
What’s going on with 21 Savage has never been seen before on hip-hop. It’s a true intersection of politics and music as this issue 21 is facing is that what many are facing across the county.
An attorney for 21 told CNN they were working to secure his release. Dina LaPolt said in a statement to CNN,
“We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with the authorities to clear up any misunderstandings. Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in this country, especially in Atlanta, Georgia, and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”
Look, it’s alright if you laughed at the 21 Savage news. But that doesn’t mean it’s a joke.