Canada: American rappers barred from Canada




American rappers barred from Canada

“Canada attempts to place US rappers in the same category as terrorists – literally,” says American rapper Jerome Almon, CEO of Murdercap Records. “If Canada is not stopped, every musician seeking to enter a country other than their own will face this problem,” he warns.

By Freemuse

“Everything stops when the customs people run my name in their computers. Next thing you know there are cops everywhere.”
According to Jerome Almon, the Canadian customs is saying that American rap artists are contributing to the murder rate and culture of gun violence. Jerome Almon doesn’t have a criminal record himself. Still, he is being denied access to Canada. The Detroit native has been trying since 2003 to return to Toronto, where he has family and owns a rap label, Murdercap Records, which has a stable of eight artists. In what he calls “the blackkattakk,” Almon claims he and his artists were sent to Canadian Immigration and “grilled for being too gangsta” 117 times out of 120 visits.
Jerome Almon said he was banned by Canadian authorities while travelling to Toronto for a national tour to launch a new CD ‘Porno Star’, that included tunes like ‘Lyin’ Bitch’, ‘On Ya Neez Bitch’ and ‘How Stella Got My Backhand’.
Canada’s largest city Toronto has seen a startling jump in gun-related deaths since 2004. While many Canadians take pride in Canadian cities being less violent than their American counterparts, Toronto has seen a record 52 gun-related deaths in 2005 – almost twice as many as the year before. “The United States is exporting its violence,” Canadian officials have said in response to these figures.

Loss of major revenues

“African-American entertainers make up a large part of the more than one billion US dollars spent yearly on movie and music video production in Toronto. But black entertainers like myself are being stopped at the border for illegitimate reasons. This has resulted in the loss of major revenues for the entertainers,” said Jerome Almon.
According to Canadian sources at the hip hop news site, American artists have been turned away at Canadian borders for well over a decade. Despite shows being advertised, artists have often been unable to cross Canadian customs to perform as scheduled. A U.S. civil rights group, National Action Network, advises African-Americans not to travel to Canada because it believes that Canada Customs engages in racial profiling. A spokesperson from the Customs refuses such accusations, saying: “I can tell you categorically Canada Customs does not engage in racial profiling. Examination of travelers is not based on their race, creed, colour or sex.”

‘Rap Intelligence Unit’

Jerome Almon tells that Canada has a ‘Rap Intelligence Unit’ that regularly trades information with the American intelligence service FBI. Canadian authorities are not only concerned with the artists’ criminal records, but are looking to ban black American artists or rappers for “being too gangsta.” According to Almon, details of the ‘rap unit’ surfaced in a hearing that was told its members probe the background of rap stars, their criminal records, friends and whom they’re feuding with.
A spokesperson of the Canada Border Services Agency, Cara Prest, said to a Canadian newspaper that it never comments on specific units: “We have a lot of intelligence groups that look at a lot of issues but we can’t talk about them”.

DMX also barred from Canada

Almon further reinforced his “black attack” theory by citing that white rockers like Aerosmith, who have previously released a song entitled, “Janie’s Got A Gun,” have never been targeted. American rapper DMX has also been barred from Canada due to his rap sheet. All four of DMX’s albums have debuted at No. 1 on Billboard, and have sold millions. The trouble for DMX began in January 2003 when the rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was stopped at the Calgary airport by immigration officials and sent back to the U.S. the next morning because, according to officials, he “didn’t meet normal immigration requirements.” DMX also reportedly became verbally abusive towards immigration staff and was detained as a result.
“The issue has not been adequately and publicly addressed,” said Almon who has contacted the White House, a US Senator, the State Department, and the press.
“If Canada is not stopped, every musician seeking to enter a country other than their own will face this problem,” he said.

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