Rapper 21 Savage says he is not leaving his home state of Atlanta and his loved ones there without a fight, as he awaits a deportation hearing.
Earlier this month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested the Atlanta-based 26-year-old music artist, née She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, for being an “unlawfully present United Kingdom national” who had allegedly overstayed his visa. He spent nine days in a ICE detainment center, forcing him to cancel a performance at the 2019 Grammys, before he was released on a $100,000 bond. He is now awaiting a deportation hearing.
In a new interview with the New York Times, posted on Sunday, 21 Savage talks about the case.
“I got three kids, my mama, everything that I know is here in Atlanta,” he said. “I’m not leaving Atlanta without a fight. We gon’ fight all the way till the last day even if that mean I sit in jail for 10 years.”
The rapper also talked to the New York Times about his upbringing in the “poor side of London” and early days in the United States, where his family struggled with poverty and was unable to get food stamps or other government assistance. He said he was a teenager when he became aware that his status in the U.S. was not settled.
“Probably like the age when you start to get your driver’s license,” he said. “I couldn’t never take driver’s ed, I couldn’t never go get a job…It felt impossible. It got to the point where I just learned to live without it. ‘Cause I still ain’t got it, I’m 26, and I’m rich. So, just learned to live without it.”
The rapper said he was aware that there was a possibility that there would come a time that he would not be able to stay in the U.S., telling the newspaper, “It’s like my worst nightmare. That’s why it’s always been trying to get corrected. Even if you got money, it ain’t easy.”
“My situation is important ’cause I represent poor black Americans and I represent poor immigrant Americans,” he added. “You gotta think about all the millions of people that ain’t 21 Savage that’s in 21 Savage shoes.”
The rapper had also talked about his arrest and legal case with ABC News last week, which marked the first interview with him that was released since he was detained.
“I was just driving and I just see guns and blue lights. And then I was in the back of a car and I was gone,” he said. “It was definitely targeted.”