Talib Kweli Threatened With Arrest After Flight Attendant Dispute

Talib Kweli

Rapper says he believes his civil rights were being violated.

Brooklyn rapper Talib Kweli is in the news again after getting into an altercation with an American Airlines flight attendant on a flight out of Texas.

This time, he alleges, the conflict was personality-driven and later suffered racial overtones after passengers were asked to exit a flight that was already delayed. After police were called in, even law enforcement sided with the Hip-Hop artist, who alleges his civil rights were being violated.

Kweli detailed what he says happened and the aftermath, which involved law enforcement.

While boarding the flight, the “Black Star” rapper carried one bag that was approved through TSA and the person at the gate. As he went to his first-class seat, he placed his bag overhead. A male flight attendant told him that he believed his bag was too big and that he would have to check it.  He refused to have it checked and, par for the course, said the attendant was rude to him.

Kweli went on to tell the attendant the bag was not too large and had previously been approved by others, and that was not giving approval for his bag to be checked. The attendant was adamant and went and got a superior. The pilot told the two to “get along,” but the energy still persisted.

The attendant was combative, not knowing just how combative and petty an ignited Kweli could be.

The back-and-forth created so much tension, the attendant used his authority to keep the plane grounded, have the plane de-boarded and bring in authorities. Kweli broke out his phone and went live on Instagram.

As the passenger exited the plane, they were visibly disturbed. Some dapped him up, but others said slick remarks. On Instagram, his followers heard Kweli call them on for what he always believes are thinly veiled racist remarks.

Fans on the Live started to tag other media outlets, including AllHipHop.com, while he explained what happened and waited to share his side of the story with law enforcement.

As soon as law enforcement arrived and Kweli asked for permission to film the officers (who also agreed to be on camera), the audio of his live went dead.

Many, like author Kevin Powell, told him to tap out and come back in, believing there was a connection issue. Others submitted the police purposely disrupted the sound so that the public couldn’t hear. Individuals also told him to shut down and just record him on his phone and post later.

Kweli for the most part didn’t realize the audio was missing. When he did, he tried again and then taped it. Check out what Kweli captured in the aftermath, including his being asked to leave because the crew felt threatened by him despite him having no weapon, raising his voice or breaking a law.


Kweli posted this on social media:

“Yesterday afternoon @americanair threatened to have me arrested for no reason at all. After clearing my bag with the gate agent, flight attendant Sky Seaglass tells me my bag is too big and I must check it. I asked why, so he got annoyed and called his supervisor. The supervisor tells me it’s her decision whether I fly or not. That’s an important detail. The supervisor sees that the attendant Seaglass was wrong about my bag and walks me to my seat and says l’m good to fly.”

“Moments later the supervisor comes back and tells me that if I do not obey the flight attendant while in the air, I will go to jail. The whole time, Seaglass, who l’m not talking to at all, is telling people he feels ‘unsafe.’ Moments later the supervisor comes back and tells me I must leave the plane. I tell her I feel like that’s a violation of my human rights and my rights as a customer.”

“She then tells me I must stop recording, even though earlier she said I could record, and was made to sit and wait as everyone exits the plane. I tried to go live 3 times but @instagram kept cutting my audio. They then send 3 police officers in. Police expressed surprise that @americanair crew threatened me with arrest and said only the police can make that call. Cops then say, ‘we got called out for nothing’ and ‘you didn’t do anything wrong.’ It’s right there on video.”

“My actual luggage is the last screenshot. Clearly, my bag wasn’t the issue,”
Kweli wrote in a caption.

Many celebrities were outraged and showed support in the comments.

Malcolm D. Lee said, “His is sad and ridiculous.”

Pete Rock said, “They not gonna say it in front of a full flight but its cuz you’re a Black man lol.”

Wood Harris said, “This is super wack, bro. I’ll never fly @americanair again. I already hate AA. They’ve been notably adverse to ‘certain’ ppl (black) thru out the years. It’s time for this airline to join Continental Airline and dissolve into fumes. Lawsuit is priming up.”

Lord Finesse, “He felt unsafe because what he attempted didn’t pan out the way he expected. He didn’t want to be looked at as an idiot the entire flight. Went through a similar situation but the passengers spoke out and situation was avoided.”

Fatman Scoop said, “Nah…..that’s all carry on….”

Dondre Whitfield said, “Bro! This is TOO disgusting for words. And all too common. I’ve been through this nonsense as well with Delta. So, the lowest common denominator are white people who feel entitled and weaponize their skin and position.”

It’s important to note the police appeared to side with Kweli, commenting on how calm and professional he’s been throughout this incident. They also noted he didn’t appear to do anything wrong, but because they didn’t want to serve him and reserved the right to not serve him, if he didn’t move as requested, it would be considered trespassing.