Thursday, May 22, 2014

Yasiin Bey, Aka Mos Def, Cancels US Tour Amid 'Legal' Issues

The rapper, who now lives in South Africa, has decided not to come back to his native US for 'immigration/legal' reasons

The rapper Mos Def, now known as Yasiin Bey, has cancelled an upcoming tour of the United States, with promoters citing "legal" issues.

The Together music festival in Boston wrote on its website: "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 US tour has been canceled." The details of the issues were not specified.

Bey's representatives failed to respond to multiple requests for comment from the Guardian.

In 2006, Bey was in court in Brooklyn, New York, for failing to pay his estranged wife, Maria Yepes-Smith, $10,000 a month to support the couple's two daughters, according to the New York Post.

At the hearing, he told the judge that he could not afford the monthly payments, citing business commitments and obligations to his other children.

According to Bey's own timeline recounted by Rolling Stone earlier this year, he moved away from Brooklyn not long after, before eventually settling in Cape Town in 2009.

He told Rolling Stone about the move: "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'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 previously lamented tour immigration issues, blaming institutional racism, on the track Mr Nigga: "But I go over seas and I get over-seized / London, Heathrow, me and my people / They think that illegal's a synonym for negro."

As well as a hip-hop career that spawned classic solo albums as well as highly-regarded LPs with Talib Kweli as Black Star, Bey has also appeared in numerous movies.

His next project is Life of Crime, a kind of prequel to Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown; Bey plays an earlier version of Samuel L Jackson's character Ordell Robbie in an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's book The Switch, which also stars Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Isla Fisher and Tim Robbins.

He also appears in Begin Again (previously known as Can A Song Save Your Life?), a musical drama starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo about a record producer nurturing a broken-hearted young songwriter.

In July 2013 Bey underwent the force feeding procedures used in Guantánamo Bay, in a video for the Guardian, which went on to become the eighth-most viewed story in the history of the Guardian's website. •

The Guardian

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