- 03 Aug 22
The rapper's closing ceremony show has been cancelled due to a "failed background check."
British rapper Pa Salieu has told fans his planned performance at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony has been axed due to a "failed background check."
After a trial in March, Salieu was cleared of engaging in violent disorder during a mass brawl in which his friend, Fidel Glasgow, was stabbed to death.
However, he was convicted of possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon and had previously admitted a second count of violent disorder relating to an attack on a man shortly after the fight. Salieu claims he used the bottle to defend himself during the fatal brawl.
Sharing video footage of rehearsals for his now-cancelled performance on Instagram, the rapper posted a message to announce that he would no longer be appearing. "I can't keep being silent about this stuff," the 24-year-old said. "I've already had to cancel 90% of my shows this year because the Home Office won't process the paperwork I need to travel abroad until my court case is finished."
In a statement to the PA news agency, Salieu's management said "no human common sense" had been involved in the decision to cut his performance with less than a week to go.
“Although born in the UK, Gambian Pa Salieu (who has indefinite leave to remain) does not have the documentation needed to apply for a visa to travel in most parts of the world and the Home Office will not issue this until his court case is concluded, already causing huge disruption to his career.
“His trial for the incident in 2018 ended in March and he was originally due to be sentenced a month later. However, the courts keep moving the date, often with less than 24 hours notice. This date has changed four times already, with the latest date now being set as the 2nd December.”
The statement also emphasised that Salieu is “very outspoken about his former life” and has “consistently tried to use his career as an inspiration for others from similar underprivileged backgrounds,” while also taking part in social initiatives such as supporting youth centres and speaking at young offenders institutes.
In October 2019, the rapper suffered head injuries after being shot outside a pub in Coventry city centre, but made a full recovery and returned to music. He released his debut mixtape Send Them To Coventry in 2020, and regularly uses his music to talk about violence in his hometown, referring to Coventry as “C-O-V, hashtag city of violence”. He topped the BBC's Sound Of... list in 2021, and was also shortlisted for the Brit Awards Rising Star prize that year.
His social media statement on Tuesday continued: "I've consistently been trying to use my career to show people where I'm from that there is another life for us. One away from the roads. But what can you do if the police, the justice system and the Home Office don't care about you and put everything possible in your way to stop you trying to get on with your life? Next week's performance should have been a celebration."
— PA SALIEU (@KING_SALIEU) August 2, 2022
The Coventry rapper's management added that “having to put your whole life and career on hold while you’re awaiting a sentencing date which is being unreasonably prolonged is unacceptable. This is a system which is supposed to encourage reformation."
Salieu asserts that he had "consistently co-operated" with the legal process and "attended court on time every single day".
The closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games is due to take place at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on Monday night, marking the end of 11 days of sporting competition in the city.
A spokesperson for the event said: "Everyone involved in the Games goes through the same accreditation process; including our volunteers, performers, athletes, contractors, and workforce. We cannot comment on individual accreditation applications. This process facilitates the delivery of the Games."
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