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Yasiin Bey Reveals Statement On South African Arrest And Announces Retirement: "No More Parties In SA"

Yasiin Bey has released a statement on his arrest in South Africa and news of his retirement via Kanye West's official website.


On Friday, we reported Yasiin Bey (better known as Mos Def) was arrested on Thursday 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.

Up until now Bey himself has been silent. Tonight, the rapper and actor released an official message on Kanye West's website.

The ten-minute phone recording begins with a freestyle from Bey that nods to Kanye's new songs, "No More Parties in L.A." and "Real Friends":

“Peace, this is Yasiin. No more parties in SA. Please, tell them no more parties in SA. Ain't home arrest, I don’t need to stay. I'll leave and I'll stay away. I committed no crime any place. Why these police up in my face? Why they raiding my place? Why I don't feel safe? This is not an expression of fear. This is just to make things clear. My intentions are pure in coming here. And that's for everything I love or hold dear. Umi's in the building. So is my wife and my children. I committed no crime. Why is the state wasting my time? They must be out of theirs minds. I forgive them, that's the spirit of divine. I just wanna go where I'm wanted. Where I'm loved, stop fronting. Where I live is my choice. You cannot mute my voice. Thank you Kanye West for being a real friend, a real friend, a real friend. No more parties in SA. Please, no more parties in SA. I heard your choice the first time, I'll go away. And when I leave, that's exactly where I'll stay. This is not an expression of fear. This is just to make things clear. A country called Earth, everywhere, a country called Earth, everywhere. No more parties in SA. Please, no more parties in SA."

Bey then says that he's currently in Cape Town, where he's "being prevented from leaving; unjustly, unlawfully and without any logical reason" and the South African government wants to deport his family.

He continues to maintain that the World Passport is not a ficticitious document and that he has broken no laws. "I have made no false claims," he says. "I have not misrepresented myself. I'm under unnecessary state supervision... And, I have reason to believe, or suspect, that there are political motivations behind the way that I am being treated. This is following no reasonable strain of logic, and it's also... curious. I haven't broken any law. And I'm being treated like a criminal."

According to Bey, he just wants to go home. "All I seek is to leave this state. I'm not looking to state any future claims against things for damages and none of that. People keep whatever state jobs that they're worried about or concerned about losing, because I just want to go home. And I don't live in America, and I have a right to [...] wherever I please. Without fear, or without interference. The State of South Africa is interfering with my ability to move, but to even fulfill my professional obligations unnecessarily. But that's fine. We don't have to be enemies and we don't have to be friends either. My family and I are prepared immediately to make whatever move that we need to make outside of this state never to return to this state again. We don't have to be here. We're not [...] to be here. And we're compliant in every possible way, reasonably."

Bey also reveals that he's retiring from the music industry and Hollywood, effective immediately. He'll be releasing his final album in 2016. "And that's that."

Listen to Bey's full message via kanyewest.com.

**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.

**Correction: The lyrics to Yasiin Bey's freestyle have been updated to say "Umi's in the building."

News Brief

Yasiin Bey Debuted His New Project 'Negus'

The "sound installation" wont be released in digital or physical formats.

Yasiin Bey shared his new release, Negus, at Art Basel Hong Kong.

The artist formerly known as Mos Def's new music comes in the form of an 8-song "sound installation" that was recorded in London in 2015 and will be presented as an "Immersive live experience," a tweet from producer FunkinEven (Steven Julien) reveals.

Production on Negus was handled by Lord Tusk, Steven Julien and ACyde. It wont be available in digital or physical formats.

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The Ugandan activist believes Kanye West should have "used his voice for the good of people in Africa."

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Wine was referring to West's Monday meeting with Museveni in which he and his wife Kim Kardashian gifted the leader a pair of white Yeezy Boost sneakers. Kanye, who is currently in Uganda recording his forthcoming album Yhandi, decided to meet with Museveni despite his recent attacks on Wine and his rampant crackdown on the opposition.

Museveni, like Kanye, is also a big fan of President Donald Trump. He professed his love for him earlier this year, stating "America has got one of the best presidents ever," he said. "I love Trump because he tells Africans frankly. The Africans need to solve their problems, the Africans are weak."

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Courtesy of Universal Music Group.

In Conversation with Daniel Kaluuya and Melina Matsoukas: 'This isn't a Black Bonnie and Clyde film—our stories are singular, they're ours.'

'Queen and Slim' lands in South Africa.

Melina Matsoukas and Daniel Kaluuya are everything their surroundings at the opulent Saxon Hotel are not—down-to-earth and even comedic at times. Despite the harsh lights and cameras constantly in their faces, they joke around and make the space inviting. They're also eager to know and pronounce the names of everyone they meet correctly. "It's Rufaro with an 'R'? Is that how you say it?" Kaluuya asks me as he shakes my hand.

Matsoukas, a two-time Grammy award winning director and Kaluuya, an A-list actor who's starred in massive titles including Black Panther and Get Out, have every reason to be boastful about their achievements and yet instead, they're relatable.

The duo is in South Africa to promote their recent film Queen Slim which is hitting theaters today and follows the eventful lives of a Black couple on the run after killing a police officer. It's a film steeped in complexity and layered themes to do with racism, police brutality and of course Black love.

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This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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Installation view of Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara © The Metropolitan Museum of Art 2020, photography by Anna-Marie Kellen.

The Met's New Exhibition Celebrates the Rich Artistic History of the Sahel Region

'Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara' is an enxtensive look into the artistic past of the West African region.

West Africa's Sahel region has a long and rich history of artistic expression. In fact, pieces from the area, which spans present-day Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, date all the way back to the first millennium. Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara, a new exhibition showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, dives into this history to share an expansive introduction to those who might be unfamiliar with the Sahel's artistic traditions.

"The Western Sahel has always been a part of the history of African art that has been especially rich, and one of the things that I wanted to do with this exhibition, that hasn't done before, is show one of the works of visual art...and present them within the framework of the great states that historians have written about that developed in this region," curator Alisa LaGamma tells Okayafrica. She worked with an extensive team of researchers and curators from across the globe, including Yaëlle Biro, to bring the collection of over 200 pieces to one of New York City's most prestigious art institutions.

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