News of 21 Savage‘s arrest rocked the internet over the weekend. According to various reports, the 26-year-old was arrested and later detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers on Sunday, February 3. According to ICE, 21 Savage — born Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph — is a UK-national who overstayed his visa. Many both in and outside the rap industry have expressed outrage at the arrest and feel his detainment is a grave injustice. Among this group is the social justice organization Black Lives Matter.
On Monday, the organization started a #Free21Savage petition addressed to ICE officer Sean Gallagher. “The circumstances of Mr. Abraham-Joseph’s detention stand as a testament to the consistent and historically under-reported harassment and targeting of Black immigrants,” the post reads. “The US’ violent history of criminalizing Blackness intersects with its deadly legacy of detaining and deporting Black and Brown immigrants. This needs to stop today!”
While information about the full circumstance of the arrest is still forthcoming, what we do know is that a photo of Abraham Joseph’s birth certificate obtained by the Daily Mail does confirm that the rapper was born in the UK. According to authorities, Abraham-Joseph moved from England to Atlanta in 2005 at the age of 13, where he remained for many years long after his non-immigrant visa expired.
“There are around 4.2 Million Black immigrants in the U.S. — 619,000 are undocumented,” the petition continues. ” Mr. Abraham-Joseph has been in the United States since he was a young child. Atlanta is his home.”
At the time of my writing this, the petition has garnered over 78,000 digital signatures.