Jay-Z isn’t letting a fellow rapper go down without a fight. The music mogul’s entertainment company has enlisted an attorney to help 21 Savage, who was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Sunday. ICE said the Atlanta rapperand has been living in the U.S. illegally for more than a decade. Jay-Z called the arrest an “absolute tragedy.”
“The arrest and detention of 21 Savage is an absolute travesty, his U visa petition has been pending for 4 years,” Jay-Z said in a statement posted to the Twitter account for his entertainment company, Roc Nation. “In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately. #Free21Savage.”
Roc Nation said that 21 Savage, born She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, is a father of three, engaged and has been living in the U.S. since he was 7 years old. On Thursday morning, spokesman Didier Morais said in a statement that the company “has procured attorney Alex Spiro to support 21 Savage’s legal team.”
Roc Nation, which was founded by Jay-Z in 2008, also pointed out that last week 21 Savage released an extended version of his single “A Lot,” which is about immigration injustice. 21 Savage is not signed to Roc Nation, but rather Epic Records, which is part of Sony Music.
21 Savage was arrested during a targeted operation in the metro Atlanta area early Sunday morning. The agency said the British national remained in the U.S. after his non-immigrant visa expired in 2006. 21 Savage was convicted in 2014 of felony drug charges in Georgia, which ICE cited as part of his arrest.
A day after his arrest by ICE, 21 Savage’s attorney said ICE was trying to “intimidate” him into leaving the U.S.the rapper on any bond amount even though he has not been charged with a crime.
Several other high-profile people have come to 21 Savage’s defense, including Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson. “Claims that She’yaa was hiding or their claims that he was detained because of prior convictions simply aren’t true,” Johnson tweeted. “She’yaa was never convicted & he was openly seeking to renew his visa. Here’s my letter to ICE.”