Update 23/05: South African newspaper website Times Live reports that the rumours of “immigration/legal issues” affecting Bey’s travel are untrue.
A friend of Bey’s, Abdi Hussein, who is another American living in Cape Town, said it was a “complete lie” that the rapper was barred from the US, saying he had simply “moved the dates” for his tour because he was working on other projects in Africa.
Hussein told The Times: “[Mos Def] has never attempted to enter any country and been refused. It’s a complete lie.
“In fact, if there was anything criminal against you, they would invite you back so they could lock you up.”
Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, has cancelled his US tour after being denied entry into his native country.
Boston’s Together music festival made the announcement on its website, stating: “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.”
That’s all the information available so far, but the rapper moved from Brooklyn to Cape Town in South Africa several years ago. As the Guardian reports, he recently discussed his motivations for leaving the US:
“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.”
Bey has long been an outspoken critic of American politics. Last year he underwent brutal force-feeding on camera in protest against inhumane practices at Guantánamo Bay.