Although Childish Gambino, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar made headlines for turning down performances at last night’s Grammys ceremony, one presence was missed almost more than any other in hip-hop. 21 Savage was unable to attend the Grammys or perform “Rockstar” alongside Post Malone because he’s currently in ICE detention after being arrested for residing in the US on an expired visa since 2006.
And while his physical presence was missed, even more egregious is the fact that only one artist remembered to shout him out onstage (Ludwig Göransson during his acceptance speech for Childish Gambino’s “This Is America”), with Post Malone sporting a 21 Savage T-shirt under his performance outfit. Kei Henderson, 21 Savage’s co-manager, addressed the lack of support for 21 on Twitter, saying that he and Savage’s other co-manager, Justin “Meezy” Williams, had tried to organize a larger show of support but were unable to work it out before the show.
“Someone from Epic sent me the photo of Post wearing the Savage tee before he performed,” he wrote. “I appreciate the notion. Lord knows me, Meezy and our team attempted to solidify recognition for Savage during the performance of “Rockstar,” it just didn’t work out that way. We reached out to several artists to perform Savage’s verse and/or stand in solidarity on stage on his behalf.” While Kei doesn’t get into exactly why they were unable to make it happen, they were able to shame the show’s producers into releasing 21’s tickets to his mother after being told his tickets couldn’t be transferred. After Meezy blasted the show on his own Twitter, the tickets were released and presumably, Savage’s mom was able to attend in his stead.
Meanwhile, 21 has received a show of support from elsewhere in hip-hop, with Jay-Z securing legal assistance for him and Black Lives Matter posting a petition for his release.