Mos Def appears in film on World Passport
American hip hop performer Mos Def‚ also known as Yasiin Bey‚ appears in an upcoming movie that depicts the World Passport as “a fundamental human rights document”.
The Western Cape High Court will next Tuesday hear an application from Mos Def‚ who’s birth name is Dante Terrell Smith‚ for an indefinite stay in South Africa.
The musician was arrested in January after Home Affairs discovered that he did not have a valid passport. This came after he presented a World Passport to airport officials to travel to a gig in Ethiopia.
An investigation reportedly discovered that the rapper's wife‚ Sharon Smith‚ and four children had been living in the country illegally since 2014. His family has been granted an interim order to stay in the country.
“My country is called Earth‚” Yasiin Bey says in the new film. “This whole thing belongs to everybody that’s on it.”
A 9-minute excerpt from “The World is My Country” has been released on the filmmaker’s site www.futurewave.org.
“We’re rushing to release this excerpt from our forthcoming documentary to set the record straight‚” director Arthur Kanegis said in a statement. “This excerpt shows that the World Passport is a fundamental human rights document that has been issued by the World Service Authority (WSA) in Washington DC for more than 60 years.”
He claimed: “Visas have been stamped on it by 90% of the World’s nations.”
In the film attorney David Gallup‚ president of WSA‚ says of the Yasiin Bey/Mos Def case: “We immediately sent a legal statement to the government through his attorney explaining the legal validity and recognition by the government of South Africa‚ including copies of stamps from the government‚ the most recent one as you can see on our website here in the last few months.”
“We hope that once South African officials see this film they will not only honour Yasiin Bey’s World Passport‚ but also move to the forefront of recognizing this important human rights document‚” the director said.
The film tells the story of so-called “World Citizen #1” Garry Davis‚ the founder of the World Service Authority which issues the passport.
“He was an actor – a song and dance man‚ who leapt off the Broadway stage onto the world stage in 1948‚” actor Martin Sheen in the excerpt‚ “showing us that … We don’t have to accept a world ravaged by war and plunging toward environmental disaster…. We can build a world that is constructive for all and destructive to none.”
“The full film reveals the very interesting story of the role Garry Davis played in helping to precipitate the United Nations’ unanimous passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948‚” added the director‚ Kanegis.
A “work-in-progress preview” of the film will be shown at the Manchester film festival on Friday March 4. The final release date has not yet been revealed.