It looks as if anyone planning on seeing the artist formerly known as Mos Def perform in the United States this summer is out of luck. The Brooklyn-born rapper, now known as Yasiin Bey, is having trouble reentering the country after moving to South Africa.
According to a statement released by Together Boston, the festival behind one of Bey’s performances, the rapper has canceled his upcoming U.S. shows because of immigration hitches.
“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,” the statement read.
Bey has been politically active in recent years and critical of some U.S government actions, especially the force-feeding of detainees in Guantanamo Bay. He appeared in a video that showed him being force-fed and breaking down in tears.
In a Rolling Stone interview published in March, Bey discussed his reasons for leaving the United States.
“I lived in Brooklyn 33 years of my life. I thought I’d be buried in that place,” he told the magazine. “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.'”
“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,” he added.
Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.