As a result of mysterious “immigration/legal issues,” rapper Yasiin Bey—formerly known as Mos Def—has been forced to cancel his upcoming United States tour. The story broke after Together Boston—a festival Bey was scheduled to perform at—released a statement saying, “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.” More specific reasons for this dramatic change in his touring schedule remain unclear.
In the search for an answer to this conundrum, speculation from the media is pointing to Bey’s political criticisms of the United States as a reason for his issues, along with the possibility that he renounced his United States citizenship. Neither of these explanations have been confirmed.
Famously outspoken, Bey has not hesitated to make his feelings about United States politics known to the public. Last year, in protest of the interrogation tactics instituted at Guantanamo Bay, the rapper released a gut-wrenching video wherein he was subjected to a harrowing round of force-feeding.
It’s also known that Bey has been living in Cape Town, South Africa for the past year, having moved away from his native Brooklyn. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Bey told the magazine:
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’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 yet to make an official comment on his cancelled show dates.