Yasiin Bey (pictured), formerly known as the musical artist and actor Mos Def, who currently lives in South Africa is reportedly canceling his upcoming U.S. tour due to problems reentering this country, according to Media Ite.
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Together Boston, the music festival at which Bey was scheduled to have performed, released a statement regarding his inability to keep his commitment just days before his first scheduled appearance:
“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, including May 15th, Together Boston’s show at The Wilbur Theatre. Individual ticket refunds for this show are available at point of sale.”
The specific details of the issues involving Bey were not explained.
Bey, whose actual given name is Dante Smith, has maintained left-leaning political views. He changed his moniker to Yasiin Bey in 2012 to reflect a name in the Qur’an’s 36th surah, one of its most important verses. The hip hop star converted to Islam in his teens.
In 2009, the rap-artist-turned-actor suddenly up and kicked his beloved Brooklyn to the curb and hightailed it to South Africa to plant roots in Cape Town. The performer told Rolling Stone in an interview earlier this year his reasons for flying the coop:
“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 bellyached before about immigration issues with regards to being black and touring. On his song, “Mr. Nigga,” the entertainer laments:
And when you travel abroad they got nigga law
Some folks get on a plane go as they please
But I go overseas and I get over-seized
London, Heathrow, me and my people
They think that’s illegal a synonym for Negro
Far away places, customs agents flagrant
They think the dark faces smuggle weight in they cases
Bags inspected, now we arrested