Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, has been forced to cancel his U.S. tour due to immigration/legal issues.
The details surrounding the rapper's immigration problems haven't been released. He had been scheduled to perform at the Together Boston festival on May 15. Event organizers issued a statement saying he had to cancel his appearance.
We regret to inform you that due to immigration / legal issues Yasiin Bey is unable to enter back into the United States and his upcoming U.S. tour has been canceled, including May 15th, Together Boston’s show at The Wilbur Theatre.
Yasiin moved to South Africa in 2013. He spoke with Rolling Stone earlier this year to explain the relocation.
I'm a Brooklyn guy. I lived in Brooklyn 33 years of my life, my natural born life. I'll be 40 this year, I mean, last year. I lived in Brooklyn 33 years of my life. I thought I'd be buried in that place. And around seven years ago, I was like, you know, "I gotta go, I gotta leave." It's very hard to leave. And I lived in a lot of places. Central America. North America. Europe for a while. And I came to Cape Town in 2009 and it just hit me. I was like, "Yeah." I know when a good vibe gets to you. And, you know, I thought about this place every day from when I left. I was like, "I'm comin back." People were like, "You're crazy. It's nine years away. It's crazy. It's scary. They're gonna eat you...[Laughter]... I saw this report on Nightline, it's very scary, don't go there." I was like, "I'm goin!" And last year in May, with the help of my dear friend (artist/manager), Abdi Hussein (Whosane), been talkin about it for a number of years, I was like, "I'm comin." So, I came and I said I'm not leaving, I'm staying. And I'm not here just for like middle class comfort, you know. Sure, it's a beautiful place, you got the ocean, the mountain, the botanical garden, the beautiful people, the history, the culture, the struggle and everything—maaan, let me tell you something, for a guy like me, who had five or six generations not just in America but in one town in America to leave America, things gotta be not so good with America. And I've lived in some beautiful places in America. I've lived in New Orleans; I love New Orleans. I love Brooklyn. Forget about it! New York City needs to thank Brooklyn every day just for existing! It was a hard thing to leave home, but I'm here. And I'm glad that I did it. I don't think it's any accident or coincidence that I'm here... And it's amazing, and it's crazy. South Africa's crazy! Cape Town is crazy! I seen some of the craziest people in my life walkin up and down Long Street, and I'm from New York! This guy is—this guy's crazy. These fights are crazy. These guys with the vests, "helping me park,"... [Laughter], they're crazy. Angry-lookin-faced people, crazy! People complain about nothing, crazy. But worthwhile. Not always easy, but more beautiful than a lotta places that I've been. I've been to some beautiful places. More than just the natural scenery, I've been really encouraged by the artistry and the determination that I've seen in this city and in this country. People like Petit Noir, people like Driemanskap, people like Khanyi Mazi, people like Smiso (Okmalumkoolkat), names that I'm forgetting... So many young people. Ill Skillz. Designers. Graphic designers. Painters. Writers. Lebo Mashile. So many fantastic people in almost every area of endeavor. And yet, I see the same dynamic people, many of them doubtful or fearful, or feeling like what they have to offer is beautiful only to them and not valued by the world, and that there's not quite a place in the world for it. And I find it curious that all of this enthusiasm that all of the rest of the world has for Africa in general and South Africa in particular is not really shared as heartily by Africans themselves. I find that to be very, very, very curious. Because I've seen some beautiful places. I've been to Brazil numerous times, all throughout Asia, all throughout the best places in Europe, the best places in the States, even as far as some of Scandanavia. Amazing talent, amazing places. But nobody, excluding any place, is like Africa. Nobody. And that's not a past-time or history, that's today—the arts, the crafts, the thoughts, the concepts, the energy, the people that are comin out of this continent are unlike any other in the world. And that's not something to trip on, or to take as a dose to the ego. But don't trip, be aware. Be aware that you are in a special place at a very special and unique time in history.
Some media outlets are reporting that Yasiin has been banned from entering America, but that hasn't been confirmed by the rapper or his reps.