- In his first interview since his release on Tuesday, 21 Savage claims he was “definitely targeted” by ICE agents.
- The rapper, real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was released on bond 10 days after he was captured by ICE and enrolled in deportation proceedings.
- He told Good Morning America: “I was just driving. And I just seen guns and blue lights. And, then, I was in the back of a car. And I was gone.”
- ICE claim Abraham-Joseph is a British citizen who overstayed a US visa which expired in 2006.
In his first interview since being released on bond, Rapper 21 Savage has claimed he was “definitely targeted” by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“I was just driving. And I just seen guns and blue lights. And, then, I was in the back of a car. And I was gone,” Savage, real name She’yaa Abraham-Joseph, said in an interview with Good Morning America’s Linsey Davis due to air on Friday morning.
The 26-year-old was released on Tuesday, 10 days after he was captured by ICE agents in Atlanta and enrolled in deportation proceedings.
ICE claim the rapper is a British citizen who is “unlawfully present in the US” after he arrived age 12 in 2005, and outstayed his visa which expired in 2006, spokesman Bryan Cox told INSIDER in a statement.
Good Morning America’s Davis asked Savage if ICE told him he was under arrest that day.
“No. They didn’t. They didn’t say nothing. They just said, ‘We got Savage’.”
Savage said: “It was definitely targeted. There was helicopters.” GMA said that Savage later clarified there was only one helicopter present.
On February 7, Jay-Z’s recording company Roc Nation hired lawyers for 21 Savage to help him fight deportation after his arrest. On Tuesday, Abraham-Joseph’s lawyers from Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC posted a statement on Facebook.
“For the past 9 long days, we, on behalf of She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, known to the world as 21 Savage, have been speaking with ICE to both clarify his actual legal standing, his eligibility for bond, and provide evidence of his extraordinary contributions to his community and society.”
“21 Savage asked us to send a special message to his fans and supporters-he says that while he wasn’t present at the Grammy Awards, he was there in spirit and is grateful for the support from around the world and is more than ever, ready to be with his loved ones and continue making music that brings people together.”
Abraham-Joseph has said he was in fact born in the UK, but came to the US in 1999, aged seven. ICE say he entered the US legally in July 2005, but overstayed his temporary visa.
Abraham-Joseph’s lawyers say he currently has a pending U visa application, submitted in 2017. The visa, reserved for victims of certain crimes, is issued to around 1500-2000 people each year.
News that the rapper was born in the UK stunned Abraham-Joseph’s fans who assumed he had been born in the US.
The rapper has long spoken of his upbringing in Atlanta, even rapping that he was “straight up out the 6” in his song “Bank Account,” referring to Atlanta’s Zone 6.
The full interview with the Grammy-nominated rapper will air on Friday morning.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.