Video: Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) Explains Why He Decided To Leave America (Not Banned)

“As an artist and as a human being, working in the way that I work in the world today,” Yasiin explains, “It’s really America’s a very challenging place for me. Sure, there’s great business opportunities, familiarity and all that. But given the current social, political, economic climate, it’s very difficult. Unnecessarily difficult. To create to the degree of fullness, the type of robust, type of creativity that I like to have, it’s very difficult for me to produce that here.”

He continues, “Earth is a very big and open place. That doesn’t mean I don’t value my family or my audience here in America. It’s just that I needed to take some time to put myself in environments where I felt good.” He goes on to clarify that the circumstances or events weren’t just limited to America, that other countries have similar situations which he’s critical of as well.

His success in music and the arts have afforded Bey the opportunity to travel the globe and seek out different experiences that shape who he is. He sees it all as a chance to create without limits. “If there’s anything I can do with my career, hopefully it’s to encourage the generations around me and after me to have that worldview.”

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