The show must go on: Silento performs in Dubai in face of travel ban

The Alabama-born rapper changed the lyrics of his hit song Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae) to reflect his predicament.
Silento performing his set at theXL Beach Club in Dubai. Awad Mustafa / The National
Silento performing his set at theXL Beach Club in Dubai. Awad Mustafa / The National

US rapper Silento, who has been issued with a travel ban preventing him from leaving the UAE, has posted a Free Silento crowd funding page to his Twitter account to help him raise money to return to the United States.

The travel ban on the Alabama-born rapper was issued by an Al Ain Civil Court on February 20.

The Soul Train Music Award winner, best known for his single Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae), failed to appear at concerts in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain last month, according to the order.

The court order dictates that Silento, 19, whose real name is Ricky Lamar Hawk, cannot leave the country until he pays Dh300,000 to claimant Makki Taj El Sir Abdel Halim.

Silento is seeking US$100,000 (Dh367,000) on his crowd funding page. It features a picture of the rapper with ‘Wanted’ and a heart emoji posted over his head and a post saying “Bring Me Back To America Again #SilentoMob”.

The page was publicised only a few hours before he was due to perform at XL Beach Club at Al Habtoor Grand Hotel in Dubai on Wednesday March 1.

The concert earned mixed reviews from the audience at XL Beach Club. According to club, there were about 380 tickets sold.

Silento, who was not giving interviews ahead of the show, came on stage at 2.07am and performed a string of his tracks including his latest release Young Love. He wrapped up with his staple single Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae), using the opportunity to make a brief reference to the news of his travel ban by changing some of the lyrics.

“They said I can’t even leave the UAE/but I’m still in the club,” he said to the crowd.

Ahead of the show Silento performed at Box Park Dubai to a large crowd and held a meet and greet with fans.

The artist is due to perform tonight at the Crystal Lounge at the W Hotel in Doha, Qatar. It is still unclear if he will be allowed to travel.

Published: March 2, 2017 04:00 AM

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