British rapper Pa Salieu has said his planned performance at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony has been cancelled due to a “failed background check”.
The 24-year-old musician was acquitted in March of engaging in violent disorder during a mass brawl in which his friend Fidel Glasgow was stabbed to death.
However the singer was convicted of possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon and had previously admitted a second count of violent disorder relating to an attack on a man shortly after the brawl.
His final sentencing date was due to be in May.
Salieu said he has “consistently co-operated” with the legal process but that the Home Office is still to process the necessary paperwork to allow him to perform abroad.
Sharing video footage from rehearsals of his Games performance on Instagram, he wrote: “Yesterday I received a call to say that I’m being removed from the show because I ‘failed a background check’.
“I can’t keep being silent about this stuff.
“I’ve already had to cancel 90% of my shows this year because the Home Office won’t process the paperwork I need to travel abroad until my court case is finished.”
He continued: “I have fully co-operated with the process. Attended court on time every single day.
“The trial ended in March, but they keep just moving the final sentencing date, which was due to be in May.
“Most recently the date moved because the ‘prosecutor has gone on holiday’.”
Salieu added: “I’ve consistently been trying to use my career to show people where I’m from that there is another life for us. One away from the roads.
“But what can you do if the police, the justice system and the Home Office don’t care about you and put everything possible in your way to stop you trying to get on with your life?
“Next week’s performance should have been a celebration.
“What is the real reason here? How can you fail a ‘background check’ to perform at a closing ceremony? What does that even mean?”
Salieu was born in Slough, Berkshire, but moved to The Gambia in west Africa as an infant. He returned to the UK at the age of eight and lived in Hillfields, a suburb of Coventry, which inspired his 2020 song Frontline.
The Government has been contacted for comment.