Korean rapper Don Malik and several international musicians, all of whom were travelling to Austin, Texas for the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival have been denied entry in to America.
A new statement released by Jerry.K, the CEO of Don Malik's agency Daze Alive, says that the rapper and his crew were scheduled to perform at SXSW on March 17 using B-1 visitor visa waivers, which grants artist's entry into America for the purpose of, "exposure only" (unpaid) performances and is organised by the festival. The statement claims that Don Malik's waiver was deemed to be invalid by U.S. officials and he was detained by customs upon arriving in San Francisco, where he and his crew remained for 24 hours. It also claimed they were victim to racial slurs and gestures.
Don Malik is not the only artist to be denied entry into America for SXSW, as international musicians and artists like Italian-based band Soviet Soviet, London jazz group United Vibrations, and Canadian/Egyptian hardcore band Massive Scar Era all had their B-1 visitor visa waivers denied. Statements have since been issued out by some artists:
In response to the decision behind the denial of these B-1 visitor visa waivers, U.S Customs and Border Protection officials issued out a statement to Billboard, explaining that "if an individual is a member of an internationally recognised entertainment group, they must apply for and be granted a P-1 visa." The statement did not direct the comment towards a specific group, artist, or event.
SXSW also responded to the denial of entry, with festival representatives issuing a statement to Pitchfork, saying that SXSW is working with U.S. officials to ensure that showcasing is a valid activity under the B-1 visa waiver:
Jonathan Ginsburg, an expert in entertainment and immigration law based in the Washington, D.C. area, now serving as immigration counsel to SXSW, explains:
“U.S. immigration law allows foreign nationals to enter the U.S. using a B visa or the Visa Waiver Program to conduct business, but not to render services. The U.S. Department of State, accordingly, has long recognized that entertainment groups may enter the U.S. to ‘showcase,’ but not to perform under contract with U.S. venues or other employers.”
SXSW is working in concert with other U.S. organizations in an effort to ensure that both the State Department and CBP continue to treat showcasing as a valid activity in B or Visa Waiver status. In the meantime, SXSW remains confident that the vast majority of consular officers and CBP officials understand and respect the need for, and the principle of, showcasing at promotional events such as the official SXSW event."
What are your thoughts on international artists being denied entry into America?
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