February 5, 2019
By Madeleine Gandhi
LONDON (Reuters) – A man with the same name as Grammy-nominated rapper 21 Savage, who was taken into custody in Atlanta on immigration charges over the weekend, was born in London, according to a copy of a British birth certificate obtained by Reuters.
21 Savage, whose name is Sha Yaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested on Sunday in Atlanta, the southern U.S. city in which he has based his music career.
He has spoken publicly about his experiences growing up in Atlanta and grappling with a culture of gun violence and drug dealing. He speaks with an American accent.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement say he is a British citizen who came to the United States from the United Kingdom in 2005 and is “unlawfully present” in the United States.
Attorneys for the rapper said on Monday that he had been arrested based on incorrect information about his criminal record and should be released while awaiting court proceedings.
An official copy of a birth certificate obtained from a London registry office showed a boy named Sheyaa Bin Abraham was born on Oct. 22, 1992 at Newham Hospital in east London to Kevin Emmons, a sales assistant, and Heather Joseph.
Reuters was unable to independently verify the birth date of the rapper but other media organizations listed it as Oct. 22, 1992.
Both parents listed their addresses in London in the certificate.
Charles Kuck, 21 Savage’s Atlanta-based immigration lawyer, said he could not comment on whether the birth certificate was that of his client because he had not seen the document.
Asked whether he would look at an image of the document sent by email and point out any reason to doubt that the birth certificate was that of his client, he said he was not a forensic expert who could appraise a document’s authenticity.
The rapper, whose album “I Am > I Was” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, is being held at a detention facility in Georgia. He faces deportation proceedings in federal immigration court, an ICE spokesman said.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Jon Boyle)