21 Savage, more like 21 Sauvage

March 11, 2019 — by Jeffrey Xu and Jayne Zhou

Recent exposure of rap star 21 Savage’s British nationality triggers media attention, causes deportation charge.

Scrolling through popular Instagram meme pages like Masipopal, one can find several memes based on 21 Savage’s British citizenship, such as one mocking his 12-car garage for storing horse carriages, and one in which the Queen of England wears AirPods, awaiting the return of 21 Savage.

Of course, these are all simply just memes, based loosely on actual facts. However, they still serve to show the readiness of popular Instagram meme accounts and Facebook pages twist the story into content more consumable to social media users, especially those on SnapChat and Instagram.

These memes have been the result of the revelation that 21 Savage, whose real name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was actually born, a revelation the public had not known before. Since he often raps a lot about being a child in growing up in Atlanta, listeners assumed he had been born there.

On Feb. 2, 21 Savage, now jokingly referred to as Sir Savage the 21st, was arrested on charges of overstaying his visa for a decade. He had moved to the U.S. from Britain in 2005 and never left.

Abraham-Joseph was then taken into custody by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in Georgia.

Ten days later, he was released on bail and freed from detention on Feb. 13.

Many took to social media to share their surprise and distaste over the rapper’s detention. One Twitter user said, “This 21 savage situation is so wild for so many reason especially the timing.”

Many fans speculated that his advocacy for social reform sparked his arrest because he has been staying in the country illegally for the last couple years and was only recently detained.

“Last week, 21 Savage spoke out against President Trump's immigration policy and the Flint, Mich., water crisis during a performance on the ‘Tonight Show,’” Sonaiya Kelly wrote for the  Los Angeles Times. “And with the high-profile spectacle of the Super Bowl providing coverage, many on Twitter are speculating that the arrest is part of a larger ICE operation.”

Several on Twitter believe the “targeted operation” was a result of his criticism of the Trump administration.

The widespread coverage of 21 Savage’s arrest and detention has shed more light on the issue of ICE detention of immigrants.

Junior Derek Shay, a big fan of the rapper, said that 21 Savage should not be deported. Shay said that for him, having 21 Savage deported would be similar to the feeling of having a family member deported.

He called it a lose-lose situation for everyone.

“Deporting 21 would have a negative impact on the U.S. and it's just not fun for anyone,” Shay said. “He makes music while staying in the U.S., so I want that to still happen.

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