21 Savage ICE Arrest

21 Savage ICE Arrest

Part of a series on 21 Savage. [View Related Entries]

Updated Feb 22, 2019 at 03:02PM EST by 13acab12.

Added Feb 19, 2019 at 05:30PM EST by Matt.

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21 Savage ICE Arrest refers to an ongoing legal issue between rapper and recording artist 21 Savage (real name: Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who arrested the rapper for allegedly outstaying his visa, which expired in 2006. Despite claiming that he was born in Atlanta, Georgia, authorities allege that he was born in the United Kingdom and came to the U.S. legally in 2005, which he later confirmed.


On February 3rd, 2019, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested 21 Savage for allegedly outstaying his visa which expired in 2005.[1] Savage's visa allegedly expired in 2006. He had previously reported that he was born in Atlanta, Georgia.[2]


Online Reaction

That day, some Twitter users responded with jokes about the arrest and the discovery 21 Savage was British. For example, user @tcibs posted a joke that gained over 7,200 retweets and 24,000 likes (shown below, left).[7] Another by @ethanseylar gained 26 likes (shown below, right).[8]

colton @tcibs Follow What 21 Savage means when he says he got shooters 4:46 PM-3 Feb 2019 an EatHam remix called YEETham @ethanseylar Follow "Sir Savage XXI, I need you to infiltrate American popular music. Can you do it?" "Your majesty? Issa mission!" [meanwhile at the pentagon] "Agent Durk, you need to see this" FBI 8:36 PM -3 Feb 2019

The arrest also sparked conversation on Redditor. That day, Redditor[9] Shotteach posted about the story in the /r/news subreddit, receiving more than 81,000 points (88% upvoted) and 5,600 comments in less than three weeks. Additionally, Redditor[10] ImRBJ posted about the arrest in the /r/hiphopheads subreddit, where the post received more than 13,000 points (98% upvoted) and 1,400 comments in 16 days.

Demi Lovato Tweet

Later that day, during Super Bowl LIII, Demi Lovato tweeted, "So far 21 Savage memes have been my favorite part of the Super Bowl."[5] The tweet was decried for being insensitive to the situation. Twitter user @AshleeMPreston called the tweet tone deaf (shown below, left). Rapper Wale tweeted criticism of the tweet, gaining over 3,600 retweets and 7,500 likes (shown below, right). After the backlash, Lovato deleted her social media accounts.

Ashlee Marie Preston @AshleeMPreston Follow Demi Lovato's Tweet about 21 Savage was a bit tone deaf. There's nothing funny about ICE or the terror they inflict upon immigrant families/individuals. Take this as a learning opportunity, woman up, reactivate your account, apologize, educate yourself & let's move forward 12:57 AM-4 Feb 2019 Wale @Wale Follow Why is somebody freedom funny.. I don't get the joke twitter.com/ddlovato/statu... This Tweet is unavailable. 10:33 PM 3 Feb 2019

Chris Brown Instagram Post

That same day, R&B singer Chris Brown] posted a video in which 21's 2016 XXL Freshman cypher was edited to feature the vocals of Big Shaq, a U.K.-based rapper/comedian mocking 21's UK citizenship and possible deportation (shown below).

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by CHRIS BROWN (@chrisbrownofficial) on

American Rapper, Offset, Responded to the post by commenting "Meme's ain't funny lame." Chris Brown was aggressively responded with a commenting "F**k you lil boy. Better worry about what u got going and focus on 'you. All this cap on IG is what's lame. Yo energy wont [sic] that when I came to Drake show in LA. If you don't get yo a hip a hop a hibbet a hibbet to the hip hip hop and ya don't stop the rockin facea** out of my comments. Sensitive a** n***a. Call me personally. U want some clout when all u gotta do is pull up […] If you a real man fight me. Oh and another thing, suck my dick!" (shown below, left). Offset responded in his Instagram[4] stories saying "Coke head don't want [smoke emoji]" (shown below, right).

offsetyrn Memes ain't funny lame 22h 4,299 likes Reply View previous replies (2617) chrisbrownofficial@offsetyrin K YOU LIL BOY.BETTER WORRY ABOUT WHAT U GOT GOING AND FOCUS ON "YOU". A this cap on IG IS WHATS LAME.. YO ENERGY WONT LIKE THAT WHEN CAME TO THE DRAKE SHOW IN LA.... IF U DONT GET YO A HIP A HOP A HIBBET A HIBBET TO THE HIP HIP HOP AND YA DONT STOP THE ROCKIN FACEASS OUT MY COMMENTS. SENSITIVE ASS A.. CALL ME PERSONALLY. U WANT SOME CLOUT WHEN ALL U GOTTA DO IS PULI UP No camera no flexing and all at!!! IF YOU A REAL MAN FIGHT ME. Oh and another thing, S MY offsetyrn 5m Coke head don' t want

Good Morning America Interview

On February 15th, 2019, 21 Savage appeared on Good Morning America. During the interview, he clarified his immigration status, explaining that he was born in England but raised in Atlanta, Georgia.

Response to Memes

On February 17th, 2019, the New York Times[6] interviewed 21 Savage about the arrest. On the subject of the online reaction to the arrest, 21 Savage said:

21 Savage: All the big artists was vocal about the situation, so I was appreciative. Even the memes.

New York Times: They didn’t stress you out?

21 Savage: Some of them was funny -- I ain’t gonna lie. I was appreciative of that. I coulda been another person who just, “He locked up? Damn,” and nobody said nothing. Some people, I see why they was mad. It ain’t about the meme, it’s about the bigger picture. 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?

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