This is the birth certificate that proves rapper 21 Savage was born to British parents in London where he lived for 12 years until being taken to Atlanta by his mother who still speaks with a strong English accent, MailOnline can reveal today.
The musician also has twin sisters in the capital, dance choreographers Kyra and Jayda, who have called his arrest ‘fishy’ but deleted childhood photos of the star growing up in the UK with one saying: ‘I don’t want him to get deported’.
The star was held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers last night – he is being held in a federal immigration custody in Georgia and could be deported back to the UK.
Police claim the musician has been is in the country ‘unlawfully’ since 2006 – but in those 13 years he has made $8million from his hit rap songs, toured the world and was even prosecuted for a drugs offence in 2014 before his immigration status came to light.
An ICE spokesman said: ‘His whole public persona is false. He actually came to the US from the UK as a teen and overstayed his visa’.
His fans are in shock because they believed that he was born and raised in Atlanta – because he has a thick Georgian accent and has never denied claims he was born and bred in the city, where he has three young children.
MailOnline can reveal his UK birth certificate shows he was born Sheyaa bin Abraham on October 22, 1992 at Newham Hospital, in east London, and his parents Heather Joseph and Kevin Emmons are also British.
It appears he moved to Atlanta with his mother when the couple separated and he is now one of America’s rising rap stars with a string of hits including collaborations with megastar Drake, who recently bought him a Ferrari.
Last year his mother was interviewed at an event in the city where her son was handing out free books, shoes and clothes to poorer families at a ‘back to school’ event.
In a strong British accent she says: ‘It’s every mother’s dream to see their son grow up to be such a thoughtful, loving boy. It’s great that he is helping so many people because we were there once ourselves’.
21 Savage with his mother Heather, who was also born in Britain and is understood to have taken him to Atlanta when he was 12
The rapper’s birth certificate shows he was born in London on October 22, 1992 at Newham Hospital, to British parents
21 Savage has twin sisters, Kyra and Jayda (left), who believe his arrest is ‘fishy’ while his mother Heather (right) has lived with him in Atlanta since he was 12 and has a string British accent
His sister Jayda has deleted all tweets about her older brother and said the situation is ‘mad’ and ‘fishy’ because he has lived in the US so long
But ICE officials have accused him of living a ‘false’ life in the US and say aged 12 he came legally to America in July 2005 – but his visa expired a year later and has lived there illegally ever since and said he was guilty of felony drug charges in October 2014.
UK authorities have said they are in contact with a lawyer for Atlanta-based rapper 21 Savage, who is in federal immigration custody in the US as he is allegedly there illegally.
A spokesman for the British Foreign Office confirmed he is British and said: ‘Our staff are in contact with the lawyer of a British man following his detention in the US.’
Critics, including his family in Britain, have claimed his past was not a secret.
His sister Jayda tweeted today: ‘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. This smells fishy’.
Fans also urged her to delete childhood photos of the star in London in case it hurt his case.
She said: ‘I feel to delete my old tweets about him you know. I don’t want him to get deported’.
His father Kevin, a council worker, was not at home today but a woman answered the intercom of his Surrey home and said: ‘No sorry, we have no comment on that. Thank you, goodbye’.
His grandmother in Brixton also declined to comment.
The rapper was only held as an illegal immigrant when Atlanta Police arrested his friend and fellow rapper Young Nudy, 21, after stopping the car they were travelling in together on Sunday night.
Officers held Nudy but also ran 21 Savage’s date of birth through their system and he was then turned over to ICE who put him in custody pending an immigration hearing before a judge.
It appears he moved to the US legally with his British-born mother in July 2005 at the age of 12 while his father Kevin, from Brixton, stayed in the UK and has two daughters.
Last night ICE spokesman Bryan Cox says the rapper overstayed his US visa, which expired a year later in July 2006.
According to CNN he said: ‘His whole public persona is false. He actually came to the US from the UK as a teen and overstayed his visa’.
He added: ‘In addition to being in violation of federal immigration law, Mr Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in October 2014 in Fulton County, Georgia’.
21 Savage, who previously dated model Amber Rose, was arrested Sunday morning in the Atlanta area.
Mr Cox said the hip hop star is currently in ICE custody in Georgia and ‘has been placed into removal proceedings before the federal immigration courts.’ An immigration judge will determine future actions.
He has made millions after a string of number one albums and famously collaborated on the hit Sneakin’ with his friend Drake, who recently bought him a Ferrari to say thanks.
Abraham-Joseph took the name 21 Savage after getting shot six times on his 21st birthday and has had various run-ins with police before his arrest for immigration offences.
He last performed in Atlanta on Thursday January 31 at the Super Bowl Music Fest at the State Farm Arena alongside Ludacris.
The rapper’s arrest came as a shock to his fans who believed 21 Savage, who previously dated Amber Rose (pictured together in 2017), was an Atlanta native born-and-bred
ICE spokesman said the rapper is a British citizen who entered the US legally in July 2005 at the age of 12 but overstayed his visa which expired in 2006
21 Savage (left of picture) with CIara and Ludacris at the Super Bowl Music Fest held in Georgia five days ago
The news will come as a shock to his fans, who considered the rapper an Atlanta local and born and brought up in DeKalb County, which covers the eastern suburbs of the city.
His birth was registered in the London borough of Newham in 1992.
The rapper and model was only arrested when his friend and rapper Young Nudy was stopped by police
Cox says Abraham-Joseph has been placed in deportation proceedings in federal immigration court and revealed Abraham-Joseph was convicted on felony drug charges in Georgia in October 2014.
‘ICE will now await the outcome of his case before a federal immigration judge to determine future actions,’ Cox said.
His attorney, Dina LaPolt, said she’s working to get him out of custody.
LaPolt told TMZ: ‘We are working diligently to get Mr. Abraham-Joseph out of detention while we work with authorities to clear up any misunderstanding.
‘Mr. Abraham-Joseph is a role model to the young people in the country — especially in Atlanta, Georgia and is actively working in the community leading programs to help underprivileged youths in financial literacy.’
Despite his success as a rapper he had a troubled upbringing and aged 12 reportedly was expelled from school and banned from all others in his area after being caught with a gun.
He was moved to a school outside Atlanta and after getting into more trouble sent to a youth detention centre in Georgia.
After his time in custody he returned to mainstream education he then dropped out and said later he was ‘exhausted’ by being excluded all the time.
He then joined a small street gang linked the the LA-based Bloods crime family and allegedly involved in robbery, grand theft auto and drug dealing.
Aged 19 he lost his best friend and ‘right hand’ man Larry in a shootout.
On his 21st birthday he was shot six times himself in a failed assassination attempt and that’s why he took the rap name 21 Savage.
Around the same time his brother Johnny was shot dead during an attempted robbery.
Abraham-Joseph is nominated for two awards at next week’s Grammys
In 2017 he launched his debut album Issa and in 2018 his second I Am > I Was went to the top of the Billboard 200 charts, leading to his Grammy nominations.
As his profile increased he started a movement called ‘Guns Down, Paintballs Up’ aimed at reducing gun violence.
But the head of the Detroit Police Department, James Craig, said although ‘well-intentioned’ it was also ‘misguided’ and the movement was then linked to several armed robberies and murders.
US rapper 21 Savage attends the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City
21 Savage, who had three children, has not responded to James Craig’s assertion but reportedly paid for the funeral of T’Rhigi Diggs, three, who was killed in a drive-by last April.
Last June he was filmed at an Atlanta pool party brandishing a gun when a rival allegedly pulled a weapon. Abraham-Joseph later claimed he was holding it for a friend, according to TMZ.
Stars have shared their shock at 21 Savage’s arrest and detainment while singer Demi Lovato has deleted her Twitter account after sharing a meme that poked fun at the suggestion that 21 Savage is British.
Lovato received backlash for the post – a picture of a person writing with a quill in candlelight with the words ‘this how 21 Savage be writing his verses’ – and she later wrote on Instagram that she ‘wasn’t laughing at anyone getting deported’.
‘I know that’s not a joke… not have I EVER laughed at that. The meme I posted/was talking about was of him being writing with a feather pen,’ she said.
US rapper Killer Mike tweeted: ‘My sincere hope is to see this young man who has made a way for himself allowed to stay and continue to prosper and grow his legacy.
‘Sincere prayers for him and his family and team. @21savage Should be allowed to remain in this country.’
US rappers Lil Yachty and Meek Mill both tweeted similar messages calling for 21 Savage to be freed.
US social media personality Karen Civil tweeted: ‘The 21 Savage arrest is beyond sad, he has been doing such incredible things in the community and changing the stigma of people perceive rappers to think/be.’