How 21 Savage could represent the American Dream

Chris Heermann, Social Media Editor

By now we’ve all heard the story and seen the memes. Rapper 21 Savage has been arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for reportedly overstaying his visa by 13 years.

If this comes as a shock to you don’t worry, you are not alone. Millions were left reeling by the news that Atlanta-based 21 Savage was not born in Zone 6—of which he raps about frequently—or even the United States. According to his lawyer, 21 Savage was born in London as Sheyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, and was brought to Atlanta at the age of seven. This means that when his visa expired the following year, he was still a child. This qualifies him as a Dreamer under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

President Trump announced plans to phase out DACA back in 2017 but those plans were never implemented due to holds by Congress and other courts following public outcry.

21 Savage has been an amazing influence for Atlanta. He hosts yearly back-to-school drives where kids can get free haircuts, clothes and school supplies. He helped with an anti-bullying campaign and started a scholarship program for low-income students.

Recently, 21 Savage performed one of his more popular songs, “A Lot,” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. At the end of the song, people were surprised to hear updated lyrics about kids stuck at the border and Flint, Michigan still needing water.

Discussing the border crisis on national television days before getting arrested sparked a fire in the conspiracy corner, leaving many people wondering if the two events were related.

Immediately following his arrest, meme artists took out their phones and began making memes. Jokes were made about his verses such as “I got shooters dressed in red” with a picture of British soldiers. Some thought that memes like this were humorous, while others believed them in poor taste.

Two people who thought them funny enough to repost were Chris Brown and Demi Lovato, both of whom were subsequently bombarded with negative comments by commenters and other celebrities alike. Lovato even deactivated her Twitter account after getting messages shaming her for her history of drug abuse. Atlanta-based rapper Offset tweeted and called out Brown, saying 21 Savage’s family depends on him.

Since all three of 21 Savage’s children were born in the United States, they have full legal citizenship, as do many of his relatives. Savage is reportedly in the process of attaining a U Visa, which can lead to becoming a lawful permanent resident. A U Visa is a nonimmigrant visa given to victims of crimes, allowing them to stay in the U.S. while they assist the police with the case. Savage was a victim of a shooting back in 2013, almost dying of blood loss.

If 21 Savage gets released, then he is the pinnacle of a Dreamer. He grew up in the U.S. and went from rags to riches, then gave back to the community that supported him.