On Feb. 3, rapper 21 Savage was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who claimed the 26-year-old — originally born in the United Kingdom — had overstayed his visa that expired in 2006. A little over a week later, he was released on bond and spoke out about the occurrence for the first time in an interview with Good Morning America.
The entertainer — whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph — recalled the moment he was apprehended by law enforcement. "I was just driving, and I see guns and blue lights," he said. "And then I was in the back of a car and I was gone." He also noted that they hadn't explained what was going on, saying, "They didn't say nothing. They just said, 'We got Savage.'" He then added, "It was definitely targeted."
Following his experience, 21 Savage also expressed some concern over whether or not he'll be deported, but he remains hopeful. "I feel like I done been through so much in my life, like, I've learned to embrace the times when I'm down 'cause they're always build me up." His focus now is mainly to help other immigrants who are in the same position. "I feel your pain, and I'm going to do everything in my power to try and bring awareness to your pain," he said.
The rapper's arrest came days after he released the music video for his song "A Lot." In the tune, 21 Savage raps about family separations at the US and Mexico border, saying, "Been through some things, but I couldn't imagine, my kids stuck at the border." His lawyer, Alex Spiro, cited this as a motive behind ICE's actions. However, 21 Savage says he's unsure if his music played a part in the incident.
21 Savage first moved to Atlanta in 1999 at age 7 with his mother and siblings. He now has three children of his own and was reunited with them after being detained for nine days. Watch him describe his full experience in the interview above.