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Rapper 21 Savage spent Super Bowl Sunday in jail, after being detained by ICE for overstaying his Visa. Now he’s speaking out about the arrest, his upbringing, and those 21 Savage memes.
In an interview with the New York Times, 21 Savage (real name She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) spoke about growing up on the “poor side of London” and coming to the States, and how the thought of having to go back to the U.K. was always his “worst nightmare.”
Addressing the 21 Savage British memes that started circulating that night—which caused Demi Lovato to leave Twitter after backlash—21 Savage admitted that some of them were funny: “But I done been through way worse things in my life than somebody putting me on a meme. I been shot—what is a meme? A meme is nothing. That’s something on the internet that I can do like this [turns over phone] and never see again. I look at bullet scars every day, so it’s like, a meme, bro?”
He said he feels a responsibility, though, as someone in the public eye, “’cause I represent poor black Americans and I represent poor immigrant Americans. You gotta think about all the millions of people that ain’t 21 Savage that’s in 21 Savage shoes.”
21 Savage added a new verse to his song “A Lot” when he performed on The Tonight Show on Jan. 28, just days before his arrest. He raps, “Been through some things but I can’t imagine my kids stuck at the border.” In the NYT interview he hints that talking about immigration in his music may have led to his arrest.
H/T New York Times
Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.