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According to MTV.com: Hip-hop pioneer Slick Rick was given a full pardon Friday (May 23) by New York Governor David Paterson, most likely ending a deportation threat that has hung over the rapper for 11 years. According to The New York Times, Governor Paterson delivered the pardon to prevent the MC from being deported to England, where he was born and lived until the age of 11.
In 1991, Slick Rick (Ricky Walters) was convicted of attempted murder and weapons charges after he shot and injured his cousin and an acquaintance. Rick served five years and 12 days in prison before being paroled in 1997, but a law that threatens to deport immigrants convicted of aggravated felony or weapons charges had always loomed large.
In 2002, Slick Rick was arrested aboard a docked Caribbean cruise ship — by the INS, who had been fighting for his deportation since 1995. He spent a year in an immigration detention center in Bradenton, Florida, before a judge ruled he could go free in 2003.
In administering the pardon, Governor Patterson noted that Slick Rick had served his sentence, had earned an “exemplary” record while in prison and on parole, and had lived in the community without incident for over 10 years. He also cited Slick Rick’s community service and the fact that deportation would separate Rick from his wife and two teenage children, who are all American citizens.
Slick Rick was 25 years old at the time of the original incident and one of hip-hop’s biggest — and flashiest — stars, recognizable as much for his immeasurable amount of jewelry as he was for his iconic eye patch (he’s blind in his right eye as a result of an injury as an infant).
In another story from MTV.com, titled “The Great Adventures of Slick Rick Just Got More Amazing: Pardoned”, the story is summed up this way:
But now New York’s governor – the first black, blind one of New York, David Paterson has just pardoned the Ricky Dee. Gov Paterson is 54 years old, raised in Brooklyn, represented Harlem in the state senate and knows exactly what time it is.
I can find the poetic justice in all of this. So for all you Slick Rick fans (and haters), here’s his “Children’s Story” video:
Brought to you by the Music Marketing Machine Course: July 16 – August 6, 2008 in NYC