News

Yasiin Bey's (Mos Def) Official Representative Maintains South African Arrest Allegations Are False

Okayafrica spoke with Yasiin Bey's (Mos Def) official representative who maintains that the allegations against him are false.

Photo: Creative commons photo courtesy of uzaigaijin


This morning we reported Yasiin Bey (better known as Mos Def) was arrested in Cape Town, allegedly over using a World Passport while trying to leave the country. Okayafrica spoke with Bey's official representative who maintains that the allegations against him are false. What follows is our conversation.

What is your take on the allegations?

From what I’ve read their allegations are wrong. He attempted to leave the country for a professional commitment and was denied the ability to board an airplane after providing his World Passport.

Why does he have a World Passport?

It's issued by the World Service —in support of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. His understanding is that the South African government has previously accepted the World Passport to enter the country and to provide visas as recently as August.

Are there political reasons he prefers not to use his US passport?

Social and political, yes. He shouldn't be forced to use his US passport.

Was he attempting to leave the country?

He was leaving with two people. He was heading to the Selam Music Festival [in Ethiopia]. He was scheduled to perform on the 10th. He tried to leave on the 9th but they wouldn’t let him board the plane. They violated his human right to pursue his profession.

How long was detained for?

He was detained for two nights at least.

What is his position now?

He’s down there to produce and to act in some motion pictures, three of which are slated to film in South Africa this year.

Is he in the country legally?

It's my understanding that he is.

Is his family in the country legally?

They may have stayed past their visa term, however, his arrest is because of the claim that he was allegedly using a false and fraudulent document.

Why not use a US passport?

He considers himself a world citizen and wanted to to use his World Passport in support of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Although South Africa did not sign the declaration in 1948 -- probably because they were governed by Apartheid at the time --  Nelson Mandela believed it was a necessary document for the continued growth of South Africa after the abolishment of Apartheid.

Does he believe the US guilty of human rights violations?

Generally speaking, various state and local law enforcement bodies have violated the most fundamental human right --  that is the right to life of several young, unarmed, black men.

**Correction, January 20 5:10pm EST: We previously reported Yasiin Bey was given 14 days to leave South Africa. Bey himself will appear for trial on March 8. His family was ordered to leave South Africa by January 29, 2016.

"SA Rappers Out Here Killing Y'all," M.I Abaga On Nigerian Rappers

M.I has fueled a debate about the state Nigerian hip-hop with his latest song, "You Rappers Should Fix Up Your Life."

Nigerian star M.I Abaga is back with a punch and taking aim at all of his fellow Nigerian rappers.

The track—which sees M.I. drop lines like "none of you rappers is real enough... that's why these fans are not feeling ya'll," "SA rappers out here killing ya,ll," and "rappers are singing now just to get popular, yuck"—has sparked a debate across social media on the current state of Nigerian hip-hop.

There's been some calling out M.I for not supporting young Nigerian rappers like big rappers do in South Africa. These years have seen the likes of Cassper Nyovest and other big SA stars supporting younger talent.

Others, however, have taken up the challenge and started responding to M.I's track over the "Fix Up Your Life" instrumental. M.I's been retweeting the responses and, in a way, the track's been getting a lot of the young rappers M.I calls out some more attention.

M.I and his label Chocolate City have also been in the news lately over suing Nas for not delivering a good verse.

What do you think? Is Nigerian hip-hop in decline?

See some choice tweets below.

Video: Looking at the Roots of IsiPantsula Culture Through Some of Its Leading Voices

This new video shows us why South African Pantsula is much more than just a dance move.

Pantsula is more than just a dance, it's a cultural movement and it's being revived through enthusiastic South African youth.

Keep reading... Show less

In Photos: Migos' Culture Tour in Johannesburg

ATL trio Migos' Culture Tour had two South African stops–in Durban on Friday and Johannesburg on Saturday.

We attended the Joburg leg of the tour, and the group didn't disappoint, although the event itself was unacceptably disorganized. South African rappers Riky Rick and Nasty C gave great performances, especially the latter.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.