Music is supposed to be an art form that brings people together. In a time as divisive as the one we are in now, we need music more than ever. But even in this art form, we are reminded of just how divided our country truly is.
This weekend, the notable Atlanta rapper 21 Savage, whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for overstaying his visa and being illegally present in the U.S. ICE claimed he is a United Kingdom citizen, and his visa expired in July of 2006.
“Mr. Abraham-Joseph is presently in ICE custody in Georgia and has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts,” ICE said in a statement. “ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions.”
Living in America, we have become accustomed to the action of deportation. We see it on the news: mass deportation of thousands of immigrants at a time. We sympathize with them, we feel sad for them and our hearts hurt for them. These deportations are met by celebrities and social justice warriors from all over the country condemning these inhumane acts. Twitter is bombarded with demands to “Abolish ICE,” and people shake their fists at the president.
So, tell me why it suddenly becomes humorous when a successful black man gets deported? Seriously, I want to know. The same people who speak out against the actions of our president are the same people posting memes, writing articles and tweeting as if this is some kind of joke.
Granted, his deportation was met with racist posts from the usual candidates, such as the notorious rider of Trump’s coattail Tomi Lahren. But, that was not all. Diplo posted a since-deleted meme to his Instagram mocking the rapper. Demi Lovato tweeted out, “So far 21 Savage memes have been my favorite part of the Super Bowl.” The tweet has since been deleted. Lovato was met with backlash from many users on Twitter, including Lil Yachty. These are just a few examples of the benevolent prejudice we have seen regarding this issue. When a successful black man gets treated unfairly, our culture turns him into a meme and a laughingstock.
This is why nothing gets fixed in this country, because the same “social justice activists” who speak up for racial equality and speak out against the current administration melt under the pressure. When their so-called beliefs and moral grounds are put to the test, we see just how weak their base truly is.
In times like this, we begin to see how our culture dehumanizes black people and, more notably, black rappers in our society. We reduce their whole being to solely an act, an act of entertainment and thuggery. Being a rapper does not make you less human. 21 Savage is more than “Issa Knife” and lean cups; he is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, an Atlanta native who, regardless of if he was born there or not, has done more for that city than ICE or anyone else ridiculing him. He is also Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph the human. Just like you and me, he is a human being.
If Justin Bieber was deported to back to Canada by ICE, there would be a revolt. No one would meme him, no one would ridicule him, there would just be another uprising against the system. It is sad this is what our culture has come to. Our sympathy for one another is based solely off the color of one’s skin. We look past the fact that we are all human beings.
We must stand in solidarity with Abraham-Joseph and with the thousands of other immigrants who are getting deported by ICE. We are all humans. Regardless of our profession, socio-economic class or race, God made us all human. He looked upon the whole Earth, all of His creation, and said it was good. He did not discriminate, and neither should we.