Rapper Ja Rule 'told he can't enter UK' ahead of British concerts because of his criminal record

28 February 2024, 14:48

Ja Rule has been blocked from entering the UK
Ja Rule has been blocked from entering the UK. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

The rapper Ja Rule has said he was denied entry to the UK, where he is due to play a series of concerts, because of his criminal record.

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Ja Rule, whose real name is Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr, is booked to play at Cardiff's Utilita Arena on Friday.

The 47-year-old artist is also due to perform at the Wembley Arena in London, as well as in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds and Liverpool, on the UK leg of his Sunrise tour.

He said he was "devastated" at the decision, adding: "I can't believe the UK won't let me in."

He said: "I've spent a half million dollars of my own money to put this tour together only to be denied entry days before my shows.

"This is not fair to me or my fans - these venues are 85% sold out and now I can't come."

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Ja Rule
Ja Rule. Picture: Getty

Ja Rule is best known for a series of hits in the early 2000s, including Always on Time and Mesmerise.

But he has also had several brushes with the law, and was jailed in 2011 after pleading guilty to attempted possession of a weapon.

His sentence was later extended for tax evasion, and he was released in May 2013.

He said: "The UK is one of the few European countries that restricts entry to people with criminal records.

"In general you will likely be denied entry if you have been convicted of a crime punishable by 23 months or more under British law, or if you've served more than 12 months in prison."

Ja Rule with Billy McFarland promoting Fyre Festival
Ja Rule with Billy McFarland promoting Fyre Festival. Picture: Alamy

Tickets are still on sale for the concerts on Ticketmaster.

In response to a question from a fan asking for a refund, the company said: "Once we receive confirmed info an email will be sent to all customers for the event."

As well as his music career, Ja Rule is also well-known for his role in the Fyre Festival disaster, an exclusive island event that spectacularly failed to deliver on its promises to attendees, who had paid thousands of dollars for tickets.

Ja Rule's business partner Billy McFarland was jailed for his role in the festival, while the rapper was cleared of wrongdoing.

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