Pa Salieu claims to have been ‘removed’ from Commonwealth Games closing ceremony for ‘failing background check’

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Rapper Pa Salieu (BBC/Press image)
Rapper Pa Salieu (BBC/Press image)

British rapper Pa Salieu has claimed to have been removed from the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, after being told he “failed a background check”.

Taking to social media on Tuesday 2 August, the rapper told his fans that he would no longer be performing at the event in Birmingham later this month after receiving a call telling him he was being taken off the show.

In a statement, Salieu – who moved to nearby Coventry when he was 8 – alleged that the move was linked to a previous court appearance, writing: “I can’t keep being silent about this stuff!! I’ve already had to cancel 90 per cent 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.”

At Warwick Crown Court earlier this year, Salieu was cleared of engaging in violent disorder during a 2018 brawl in which his friend Fidel Glasgow – the grandson of The Specials singer Neville Staple – was stabbed to death. He was, however, convicted of possessing a bottle as an offensive weapon.

He continued: “I have fully co-operated with the process. Attended court on time every single day. The trial ended in March, but they keep just moving the final sentencing date which was due to be in May.”

Salieu, winner of the BBC’s Sound of 2021 award, continued by saying: “I’ve consistently been trying to use my career to show people where I’m from that there’s 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.”

The Independent reached out to the Commonwealth Games for comment and received this statement from a Birmingham 2022 spokesperson: “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.”

 (Pa Salieu statement/Twitter)
(Pa Salieu statement/Twitter)
 (Pa Salieu statement/Twitter)
(Pa Salieu statement/Twitter)

Salieu finished his statement by writing: “Next week’s performance should have been a celebration. “What is the real reason here?? How can you fail a ‘background check’ to perform at a closing ceremony. What does that even mean?”

Pa Salieu’s rep has been asked for comment.