“21 Savage was just detained by ICE,” the first message on my phone read.
It was Super Bowl Sunday and the Define American team was blowing up my phone. Within moments it was already clear to our team what needed to be done.
Before the day was over our Executive Director Ryan Eller had been in touch with our partners at Black Lives Matter, UndocuBlack Network, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and Color of Change, and we had formed the Free 21 Savage Coalition.
We were going to get 21 Savage (aka She’Yaa bin Abraham-Joseph) out of ICE detention.
As the entertainment media manager and Define American’s resident pop-culture fanatic, I’ve been passionate about finding ways to connect the hip-hop community and the fight for immigrant justice.
Ryan and I knew this was a moment where Define American could not only help 21 Savage get released from ICE detention but help underscore the injustice of mass detention and mass incarceration in our country.
From that moment on, it was all hands on deck.
From drafting press materials and co-producing a PSA with Mic.com, to protesting outside of the Grammys where 21 Savage was set to perform before being detained, our team rallied to together to show our support for 21 Savage and Black immigrants across America.
Our hard work paid off!
We were able to gather over 500,000 signatures and use social media and dedicated press coverage to put public pressure on ICE to release 21 Savage on bond.
And recently the #Free21Savage coalition was even featured on the cover of Billboard Magazine with 21 Savage because he is now using his platform to talk about immigrant rights.
The media narrative around immigration has most of America believing that immigration is exclusively a Latinx issue, and that the only people coming to America for a better life are coming from Mexico.
But immigration is a human rights issue that affects ALL people, including the roughly 620,000 Black undocumented immigrants currently living in limbo here in the U.S. They have been left out of the conversation and the fight for immigrant justice for far too long.
Together with you, we are building an America that is inclusive and affirming of every person that calls this country home.
Join me and Define American in challenging the status quo about who gets to be here and who gets to be American, as we continue to fight for the rights of Black immigrants.