21 Savage is speaking out for the first time since being arrested and detained by ICE. Now released on bond from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he sat down with Good Morning America to talk about the incident. 21 Savage, whose real name is She’yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was asked if he’s concerned that he could be deported. He says he was definitely targeted by ICE, take a look below.
21 Savage also spoke with The NY Times about moving to the United States for the first time from the UK. He also talks about knowing his status and just living without proper citizenship. You can read some of what he had to say below and see the full story here.
NY Times: Do you remember first arriving here when you were young?
21 Savage: Yeah, everything was like, bigger. I come from the poor side of London. My grandma house is real skinny. So when we first moved here, we was living in the hood still, but it was, like, way bigger. The toilet size, the bathroom size, it was just different. But I fell in love with it. It’s all I know.
NY Times: Did you have a British accent?
21 Savage: Yeah, I had a accent, ’cause my first day of school they was making fun of me so I beat somebody up, and they was calling me “taekwondo kid.” My mama whupped me, she made me stay in the house. So I know I had a accent, but I been here 20 years — I don’t know what happened to it.
NY Times: Do you remember when you became aware that your status wasn’t settled?
21 Savage: Probably like the age when you start to get your driver’s license. I couldn’t never take driver’s ed, I couldn’t never go get a job. About that age.
NY Times: Was it something you wanted to get taken care of?
21 Savage: 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.
NY Times: How draining was it being in detention, especially with the uncertainty of how long it was going to last?
21 Savage: It really wasn’t jail, it was the possibility of me not being able to live in this country no more that I’ve been living in my whole life. All that just going through your head, like, “Damn, I love my house, I ain’t gonna be able to go in my house no more? I ain’t gonna be able to go to my favorite restaurant that I been going to for 20 years straight?” That’s the most important thing. If you tell me, “I’ll give you 20 million to go stay somewhere you ain’t never stayed,” I’d rather be broke. I’ll sit in jail to fight to live where I’ve been living my whole life.
NY Times: Do you feel a responsibility to speak up about your circumstances?
21 Savage: Yeah, I feel a responsibility. My situation is important ’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.