Rapper and actor, Mos Def, now known as Yasiin Bey, cancelled his highly anticipated performance scheduled for last weekend’s Selam festival, after he denied board on an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Cape Town to Addis Ababa. Teshome Wondimu, Selam Festival founder and General Manager told Capital that his company is in negotiations with the rapper’s promoters to receive a refunded.
“We have been working on this project for a year, and we were confident that he would perform at the festival. However, on Saturday,09 January 2016‚ Yasiin Bey attempted to depart to Ethiopia from the Cape Town International Airport by producing an unrecognized ‘World Passport’, which was declined by immigration officials,” Teshome said.
The General Manager further stated that his office is discussing further actions and said “Selam festival will demand an official apology from the promoters.”
The founder and General Manager declined to mention the amount of the money paid for the rapper but said “he accepted our request to perform for a much lower amount of money compared to what he usually charges for other concerts.”
Fans were disappointed after they were told at the gates that he would not be performing on the night of January 10, 2015 at Ghion Hotel. This was not the first time the rapper has abandoned a performance, last year, he cancelled a tour to the United States, with promoters citing “legal” issues.
In a related development, Yasiin Bey was arrested on Thursday‚ 14 January 2016 and appeared at the Bellville Magistrate Court in Cape Town on Friday‚15 January 2016.
According to different media outlets in South Africa Mos Def, his wife‚ mother and four children had overstayed their tourist Visas in South Africa and were sojourning in the country illegally. In this regard‚ an order has been issued, requesting their departure from the country within 14 days. Immigration officials of South Africa will monitor this order.
In 2006, Bey was in court in Brooklyn, New York, for failing to pay his estranged wife, Maria Yepes-Smith, USD 10,000 a month to support the couple’s two daughters, according to the New York Post. At the hearing, he told the judge that he could not afford the monthly payments, citing business commitments and obligations to his other children.
According to Bey’s own timeline recounted by Rolling Stone earlier this year, he moved from Brooklyn not long after, before eventually settling in Cape Town in 2009.
Bey has previously lamented tour immigration issues, blaming institutional racism, on the track Mr Nigga: “But I go overseas and I get over-seized / London, Heathrow, me and my people / They think that illegal’s a synonym for negro.”
As well as a hip-hop career that spawned classic solo albums as well as highly-regarded LPs with Talib Kweli as Black Star, Bey has also appeared in numerous movies. Born as Dante Smith, Mos Def starred in films such as “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy,” ”The Italian Job” and “Life of Crime.”His next project is Life of Crime, a kind of prequel to Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.