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.
Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage, a British citizen, is being held by US officials due to an expired visa.
His real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph and he moved to America as a child.
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.”
21 Savage’s lawyers concede that the 26-year-old doesn’t have the correct documents, but say they expired when he was a child, “through no fault of his own”.
Jay-Z’s company Roc Nation says a person charged with “visa overstay” should be allowed to be free while they fight their case.
New York lawyer Alex Spiro, who has represented a number of entertainment figures, took on the case at Jay-Z’s request.
The attorney told AFP that the Grammy-nominated 21 Savage was incarcerated in a detention centre near Atlanta and called for his release on bail.
Spiro said 21 Savage had a pending visa application that is backlogged but would secure the artist’s immigration status.
He has three children who are American citizens, which his lawyers say make him eligible for deportation relief.
“In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately,” Jay-Z said.