Rapper 21 Savage is the latest celebrity to be subject to a meme frenzy, following news that he could face deportation after being arrested by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The New York Times reported that the artist, who was born as Sha Yaa Ban Abraham-Joseph, was arrested on Sunday in Georgia, after reportedly “overstaying his welcome,” as a British citizen. He has reportedly been in the U.S. illegally after coming to the U.S. from the U.K. as a teen in 2005 and has stayed in Atlanta, Georgia, ever since. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox released a statement regarding the rapper’s persona as an Atlanta-based rapper.
“His whole public persona is false,” Cox said, according to Reuters. “He actually came to the U.S. from the U.K. as a teen and overstayed his visa.”
The 26-year-old was also arrested in 2014 on felony drug charges, according to Cox, which no one in Abraham-Joseph’s camp has confirmed or denied. According to Variety, his lawyer has issued a statement that her client is a role model for young people and has provided financial literacy programs for them.
The news of 21 Savage’s arrest instantly spread to news outlets and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Memes were quickly produced, with many people in disbelief that 21 Savage is actually British.
what 21 savage meant when he said he got a bag on him pic.twitter.com/U3IHPt3NmX— josh neal aka mrq bndt (@MrqBndt) February 4, 2019
21 Savage being British already affecting the UK pic.twitter.com/bYCvDDZ69v— P???????? (@P_sTament) February 3, 2019
21 savage’s real 12 car garage pic.twitter.com/PpiEvuvHZ9— Clint ???????? (@theclintlane) February 4, 2019
While the memes were meant to be in a joking manner, many of 21 Savage’s fans were upset by them and attacked other celebrities who shared them. One of the first celebrities that faced backlash was Demi Lovato, who faced outrage for posting on her Twitter page about the memes. As the Inquisitr reported, the singer decided to delete her account after Twitter users brought out her past drug use as a way to defend 21 Savage. She also decided to share on her Instagram story that she was not laughing at the rapper’s unfortunate events, but of the memes alone.
“Wasn’t laughing at anyone getting deported. I know that’s not a joke…not have I EVER laughed at that,” she wrote. “The meme I posted/was talking about was of him being writing with a feather pen. Sorry if I offended anyone.”
Many artists, including Offset of Migos, did take to their personal Twitter accounts in defense of 21 Savage, encouraging their fans and others to leave the situation alone. While the memes will more than likely subside as the next news story blossoms, 21 Savage still reportedly has yet to be released.