ICE detained rapper 21 Savage for overstaying a visa in a plight that is reminiscent of Slick Rick’s fight for citizenship.
Over Super Bowl weekend, Atlanta’s hip hop community received a huge shock.
In a targeted sting operation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained rapper 21 Savage for overstaying a visa. The artist and British citizen, Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, entered the U.S. legally on a one-year visa.
As a result, ICE alleges he failed to depart under the terms of his non-immigrant visa. It expired in July 2006.
In addition, 21 Savage was convicted on felony drug charges in 2014.
The way the Trump administration is set up, it is clear that cases for immigration reform are being made.
The Adventures of Slick Rick
Legendary rhyme-smith, Ricky “Slick Rick” Walters, was born in London, England.
However, he was granted U.S. citizenship after a 23-year legal battle, becoming an American citizen in 2016.
In 1991, Slick Rick pleaded guilty to two counts of attempted murder and eight weapons charges. The incident stemmed from the rapper shooting his cousin and bodyguard Mark Plummer and an innocent bystander.
He served six years, completing his parole in 2000. The judge canceled deportation proceedings, granting a waiver of admissibility.
Then-New York Governor David Paterson officially pardoned him on the attempted murder charge in 2008. In a statement, Patterson cited how Slick Rick had become “a symbol of rehabilitation for many young people.”
21 Savage made headlines when he transformed his gangster image almost overnight.
Entering the music industry, Savage started out with a menacing presence fueled by the breakout hit “Bank Account”.
His latest album, I Am > I Was, exhibits a shift in his outlook on life. With the leadoff single ‘A Lot’ featuring J. Cole, the artist has been distancing himself from negativity.
He launched the Leading By Example Foundation and is in the third year of a back-to-school initiative. He has donated money to Atlanta area schools and launched his 21 Savage Bank Account Campaign.
The fund will help them take on the challenge of financial literacy and “get the knowledge to pay for college”.
If Slick Rick’s situation is any indication, then 21 Savage has a great chance of overcoming the odds. No one knows if 21 Savage changed his ways because he felt the heat coming from ICE.
However, his outreach efforts and positive artistic pivot is a welcomed reversal of his previous gangster stance.