Monday 20 May 2019

Foreign Office in contact with detained rapper 21 Savage’s lawyer in US

The rapper is in the country ‘unlawfully’, US authorities have said.

The Foreign Office in contact with detained rapper 21 Savage’s lawyer in US (Christopher Smith/Invision/AP)
The Foreign Office in contact with detained rapper 21 Savage’s lawyer in US (Christopher Smith/Invision/AP)

By Lucy Mapstone, Press Association Deputy Entertainment Editor

British authorities have said they are in contact with a lawyer for Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage, who is in federal immigration custody in the US as he is allegedly there illegally.

The Grammy-nominated rapper was arrested early on Sunday morning during a targeted operation in Atlanta.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says the musician, whose given name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is a British national who is in the country “unlawfully” after legally moving to the US on a now-expired visa in 2005.

The MailOnline has obtained a copy of a birth certificate believed to be his, under the name Sheyaa Bin Abraham, with his mother listed as Heather Joseph.

It shows he was born in Plaistow in Newham, east London on October 22 1992.

A spokesman for the British Foreign Office said: “Our staff are in contact with the lawyer of a British man following his detention in the US.”

21 Savage and Amber Rose attending the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles (PA)

ICE southern region spokesman Bryan Cox said the rapper, whose given name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was taken into custody “as he is unlawfully present in the US and also a convicted felon”.

Mr Cox said: “Mr Abraham-Joseph initially entered the US legally in July 2005, but subsequently failed to depart under the terms of his nonimmigrant visa and he became unlawfully present in the US when his visa expired in July 2006.

“In addition to being in violation of federal immigration law, Mr Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia.”

Mr Cox said the hip hop star is currently in ICE custody in Georgia and “has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts.”

A federal immigration judge will determine future actions.

Dina LaPolt, the rapper’s lawyer, said they 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 programmes to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.”

21 Savage is nominated for two Grammy Awards for this weekend’s ceremony, including record of the year for the chart-topping track Rockstar with fellow rapper Post Malone.

The 26-year-old released a new music video on Friday for his song A Lot featuring J Cole, from his new album I Am > I Was, which was released in December.

The record, his second studio album, reached 33 in the UK albums chart and debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200.

He has collaborated with the likes of Drake, Cardi B, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino, and was previously in a relationship with model and actress Amber Rose.

Stars from the world of hip hop have shared their shock at 21 Savage’s detainment, with US rappers including Lil Yachty and Meek Mill calling for him to be freed from custody.

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