Minister Marion Hall, formerly known as Lady Saw, says she was denied a United States O-1 Visa which she previously qualified for as a dancehall superstar.
Hall made the revelation that the visa was denied via a video making the rounds on social media this week, watch below. She believes she got the visa previously because of her Lady Saw persona.
In the video though, Hall is upbeat and does not appear to hold any bad feelings about the denial.
According to the US government the O-1 visa is “for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.”
The singer shocked some fans when she cancelled scheduled dancehall shows and decided to leave the industry for good in 2015, in order to “dedicate her life to the Lord”.
In this week’s video the once reigning Queen of Dancehall said, “When I was Lady Saw, I got all these O1 visas. They’re given to people of status, like celebrities. In this time here, when the virus is going around, I couldn’t believe that I just now get the letter of denial to say, since you’ve become a gospel artiste, we no longer see you as that person with status.”
Her manager Delroy Escoffery explained to the STAR that Minister Marion’s visa issues began two years ago. This was after her green card was disqualified.
“Any time you get a green card, for the first year, you cannot leave without getting permission from immigration,” Escoffery said. During that first year, she breached that regulation by leaving to perform at a show.
“They had booked her. When it was time for her to come, she realized she did not make the request. So she told them she couldn’t make it, but they were adamant. She came down, and that’s when they reported the green card.”
LADY SAW SHOCKED FANS WHEN SHE SAID SHE WOULD BE LEAVING THE DANCEHALL WORLD BEHIND AND WOULD INSTEAD HER LIFE TO THE LORD.
Following that incident, they tried to get an O2 visa but according to Escoffery: “That’s when they came up with all kinds of different things.”
“The first time we did it, they claimed that the venue wasn’t related to gospel venues, so we’d have to do it over. They kept saying they’re processing. But between those two years, she was grounded. She didn’t have a US visa,” he continued.
He admitted that Hall’s gospel career is not as popular as her previous Dancehall persona and believes this is affecting the process.
“O1 is for status, in terms of how recognized you are. Minister Marion Hall is like a new talent, so to them, she’s not eligible under Minister Marion Hall. It’s just politricks.”
Even though the O1 visa was denied, Hall said she can still travel to the US using her B1 visa. She ended the short clip by asserting that the issue is in the hands of God.
“As I said before, we’re a chosen generation, royal priesthood, holy nation, peculiar people. When it’s time, God will take you where you want to be. I don’t think you should have any ill-feeling about anything, any disappointments, setbacks or denials because God will never deny you,” she said.
Hall, 47, was probably best known for Lady Saw’s feature on No Doubt’s hit song, “Underneath It All”, for which she won a Grammy Award, becoming the first female dancehall DJ to get the honor. Saw was also known for her hits If Him Lef, Good Man, I’ve Got Your Man, Man Is The Least and of course Sycamore Tree.