Rapper 21 Savage was born She’yaa bin Abraham to Heather Carmilla Joseph and Kevin Emmons in Newham, London, England in 1992, according to his widely circulated birth certificate. His legal name appears in numerous reports to include his mother’s surname; Abraham-Joseph.
21 Savage was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Atlanta on Super Bowl Sunday. He came to the U.S. with his mother, Heather Joseph, when he was 12, ICE said. His lawyer said Tuesday he arrived at age 7. ICE said he overstayed a Visa and would face deportation proceedings. His claim is that he was not hiding. He was brought to the States as a child, and now has his own children, born in the U.S.
The Huffington Post reported that Abraham-Joseph applied for a “U” visa in 2017, a class of visa for “set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity,” according to immigration.
The MC’s back-story is he was raised in Atlanta, was poor, ran the streets, joined a gang, and was expelled from school. Abraham-Joseph has a criminal record. And, he’s a gun aficionado, though he founded ‘Guns Down, Paintballs Up’ aimed at reducing gun violence; some have said that has not changed his MO to pose with guns.
Nominated for two Grammy Awards including the record of the year for “Rockstar” he may be in detention still when the music awards show airs Sunday, Feb. 10. 21 Savage debuted his album Issa in 2017.
Along his journey, his mother Heather has been by his side and his father has been watching and posting from across the pond.
And an old Facebook page opens a window into 21 Savage’s teen years in Atlanta.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Abraham-Joseph Was Born in London & Came to the U.S. as a Child. ICE Says His Persona is False But His Old Facebook Documents His Teen Years
Claiming Atlanta, but he and both of his parents are British. He was born in London. He arrived in the US legally in 2005, when he was 12, ICE said. His lawyer said Tuesday he arrived at age 7 and retunred to the U.K. in 2005 for a brief visit. ICE said his visa ran out in 2006.
And, the federal agency that arrested and is now holding the $8 million-dollar rapper claims his “persona is false.”
But a look at his original Facebook page, which has posts from 2009, clearly show the then-teen involved in a gang-banger lifestyle.
His father commented on the post from eight years ago, “if you holding stacks like dat you need to send some to me lol.”
With less than 1000 followers and most posts garnering a few likes, it appears that this page has largely stayed underground as he rose to fame.
So it’s unclear why ICE says his persona is false, save for not mentioning he was born in England, it seems that his drugs and guns and money lifestyle was a reality.
2. The 21 Savage Version: Rags-to-Riches Story of a Mom & Kid From ATL
In a photograph of he and his mother at the BET Awards in 2017, he said, “True definition of rags to riches. I remember when you used to stir fry ramen noodles and mix em with chopped up hot dogs now we eating at Ruth Chris and wearing designer outfits on red carpets.”
His mother clearly has a London accent as can be heard in this video. Abraham-Joseph apprently lost his accent.
Though Abraham-Joseph claims he was never hiding from immigration, but his origin, while reported, was nonetheless murky.
There are a number of accounts from gossip and hip-hop lifestyle sites that say Heather claimed she was born in Dominica, an island in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles, and that her son was too; it’s been reported that he was born on the island in 1992, a month before his actual birth month of October. Heather too was not born in Dominica, according to the birth certificate for Abraham-Joseph; she was born in Plaistow, London.
His old Facebook page says he is from Dominica.
3. Abraham-Joseph’s Father, Kevin Emmons, Lives in England & Has Been Bragging on His Son For Years on Facebook But is he 21 Savage’s Dad?
Kevin Cornelius Emmons was born in Lambeth, London, according to his son’s birth certificate. On that document, Emmoms is listed as being a “sales assistant.”
Emmons has a number of children including Abraham-Joseph and twin daughters Jayda and Kyra.
Emmons has been sharing posts of his son as he went from banger to superstar rapper for years and appears to have hardly tried to hide the fact that 21 Savage, the Atlanta rapper is his son.
Or is he?
Meanwhile, some are saying that this image and other reports show that his real father is Dr. Amsu Anpu and that Emmons is not despite being listed on the birth certificate.
Anpu, an endocrinologist, who shows images of 21 Savage in family photos.
Anpu used 21 Savage’s image on a erectile dysfunction product and he uses a hashtag here in this post that says: #MySon.
4. 21 Savage’s Non-Profit Foundations Support His Youth Financial Literacy Campaign, ISSA Back-to-School Drives & Anti-Bullying Initiatives
21 Savage and Get Schooled launched, ’21 Savage’s Bank Account,’ a campaign to teach teens money basics.
The campaign, first announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, includes a digital badge, 21 Savages’ money tips for young moguls, as well as the opportunity for young people to receive $1,000 from 21 Savage’s Leading by Example Foundation to start their own bank account and gain knowledge in financial literacy.
“My biggest record to date is called Bank Account. It’s ironic because growing up in Atlanta, I knew almost nothing about bank accounts,” he said of the launch. “Now that I do have money in my bank account, I want to help kids with a background similar to mine to get smart about their money.”
21 Savage has held his ISSA Back to School event for three years. School supplies, bookbags, shoes, clothes, uniforms and hair cuts and styling plus music, food, bouncy houses for kids; it’s a huge event that draws thousands of families.
He told Billboard magazine that, “Giving back to where I grew up means a lot to me. These kids need it and I use to be one of those kids. Being able to see someone from where u from make it and come back and genuine give back will motivate these kids to do the same for their kids and the community.”
The rapper also donated $10,000 to an elementary school to help fund their anti-bullying campaign and paid for the funeral of a young child killed in a drive-by.
His non-profit is called the Leading by Example Foundation.
5. 21 Savage’s Sisters Are Dancers/Choreographers Jayda & Kyra Davis
Kyra and Jayda are dancer/choreographers with a YouTube channel ‘The Davis Twins’ where they showcase their choreography.
The sisters have commented on their brother’s arrest and possible deportation back to England but as of Tuesday, it appears some of their social media has been shuttered.
Jayda said she did not want to see her brother deported: “But Shaayaa moved to America when he was mad young, so he basically is American, he grew up there …I’m bare confused as to how they’re trying to deport him though… He’s been comfortable this whole time, even when he was gangbanging and shit. This smells fishy.”
She re-tweeted a theory about why he was arrested and posted and then deleted a tweet about removing images of her bother from her social media.
Kyra’s Twitter is fairly active and the only post that is related to her brother being held by US immigration officials is her reaction to a photo of her in the Daily Mail.