'This Is America' Producer Gives 21 Savage Grammy Shoutout After Accepting Song of the Year Award: 'He Should Be Here Tonight'

Taking the stage to accept the Grammy award for "Song of the Year" on Sunday night, one of the co-producers behind Childish Gambino's "This Is America" gave a shoutout to 21 Savage, ensuring sure the Atlanta rapper's part in the making of the hit song would not be forgotten as he faces deportation from the United States.

"No matter where you're born or what country you're from, you connect with 'This Is America,'" record producer Ludwig Göransson, said as he accepted the coveted Song of the Year award. "It speaks to people...right to your soul. It calls out injustice, celebrates life and reunites us all at the same time. And we're all so happy to be here."

Göransson, who came to the U.S. as an immigrant from Sweden, then thanked "all the rappers" featured on "This Is America," the first hip-hop Song of the Year winner in Grammy history, before giving a special shoutout to 21 Savage, who contributed ad-libs to the song, saying "he should be here tonight."

In addition to being honored at the Grammy awards, 21 Savage, whose real name is Shéyaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, had also been expected to perform at the annual awards event, according to immigration advocacy group Define American.

Instead, however, he is fighting a battle with U.S. immigration authorities to remain in the country he grew up in after being arrested by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency on claims of living in the U.S. with an expired visa.

ICE had said that the "I Am > I Was" rapper is in fact a British citizen and came to the U.S. with his family when he was 12 years old in 2005.

Representatives for Savage, who is 26, confirmed last week that he was born in the London borough of Newham in 1992, but said that he had immigrated to the U.S. with his family when he was 7 and then later returned to Britain for a visit in July 2005 before making his way back to the U.S. His visa expired the following year in 2006, they said.

In a statement, the rapper's attorney Charles H. Knuck said Savage had applied for a U-Visa in 2017 and had been waiting for his application to be approved.

The type of visa Savage applied for is one that is set aside for victims of crime, which the rapper's lawyers believe he would be eligible for after surviving a shooting in the U.S. in 2013.

Since 21 Savage's arrest, a number of high-profile celebrities and politicians have thrown their support behind the rapper, demanding his release.

Branding the 26-year-old's arrest an "absolute travesty," rapper Jay-Z has been vocal in demanding Savage's release, in addition to helping the rapper obtain legal support from New York attorney Alex Spiro.

"We are not going to stop until he is released, bonded out or in front of a judge," Spiro told TMZ last week. "What we have here is someone who overstayed their Visa with an application pending for 4 years—not a convicted criminal that needs to be detained and removed but, by all accounts a wonderful person, father and entertainer who has a marijuana offense, which was vacated and sealed."

In a statement sent out ahead of the Grammy awards, Define American called 21 Savage's arrest an example of "the racial injustice that is endemic to the U.S. of mass detention and mass incarceration systems."

Noting that the U.S. has the largest imprisoned population of non-citizens in the world, with ICE having an average daily detention population of 44,631 people as of October 2018, the advocacy group said that "although black immigrants comprise just 5.4 percent of the undocumented population, they make up 10.6 percent of all immigrants in removal proceedings," citing data from the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and NYU School of Law Immigrants Rights Clinic.

Define American also questioned whether Savage's recent lyrics about children being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border might have played a role in his detention, with the advocacy group noting that the 26-year-old had "added lyrics about children being detained at the border" to his song "A Lot" at a recent performance on The Tonight Show. "Shortly thereafter he was detained. Are these things connected?" the group asked.

Last week, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out the lyrics in question: "The gas was off, so we had to boil up the water/ Been through some things so I can't imagine my kids stuck at the border/ Flint still need water/ People was innocent, couldn't get lawyers."

Savage was arrested just days after the performance, causing many to question whether the rapper's detention was connected to his criticism of U.S. immigration policies.

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21 Savage performs onstage during Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest / EA SPORTS BOWL at State Farm Arena on January 31, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The rapper is locked in a battle with U.S. immigration authorities to stay in the U.S., the country he grew up in. Kevin Winter/Getty
'This Is America' Producer Gives 21 Savage Grammy Shoutout After Accepting Song of the Year Award: 'He Should Be Here Tonight' | U.S.
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