Rap group “Dead Prez” member barred from flying due to tattoos

Jeff Berwick | The Dollar Vigilante | December 31, 2013

In fascism, corporations do the bidding of government. How this could affect you today is illustrated poignantly in the following example.

Rapper/DJ Michael “mikeflo” Flowers has claimed he was removed from an Alaska Airlines (a Delta Air Lines partner) flight last summer because airline employees felt “uncomfortable” due to Mike’s tattoos on his face. Although Mike had a prior relationship with the airline, flying thousands of miles with them, he was still forbidden from flying. At the time of press, the airline had yet to make a comment regarding Mikeflo’s inconvenience.

Mikeflo planned to travel from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon on July 14th for a performance, but, according to dead prez affiliates, a flight attendant told an unaccompanied child passenger next to Mike, “I don’t trust the guy with the tattoos so I am going to move your seat.”

Mike, a university graduate, says he was later asked to exit the plane by another member of the flight crew. He was told the attendant’s were concerned he would not comply with FAA rules.

“I was stunned and humiliated,” said mikeflo. “I am a platinum medallion with Delta and I fly thousands of miles a year. I feel like they violated my freedom of expression.” Mikeflo has consulted with legal representation and will likely sue. Another option, of course, is to boycott the airline.

“Mr. Flowers has religious and cultural tattoos on his face as an expression of his spiritual beliefs,” said his attorney Mawuli Mel Davis. “We are investigating the incident and considering all legal options.”

Mikeflo has launched the #itsartnotacrime social media campaign calling for fair treatment of all passengers by Alaska Airlines. Mikeflo is a member of the rap group Dead Prez, who have released such songs as, “Police State” and “Propaganda”:

A close personal friend of Dead Prez had this to say about the injustice:

I am friends with Mike (& Stic & M1) from DeadPrez. In fact, I picked them up from the Portland airport the day this happened. Here, briefly, are a couple of my thoughts on this incident:

The Mike Flowers (MikeFlo) I know is an intelligent, gentle, talented, soft-spoken artist & human being. Even though he was more than a little outraged by what had happened, he never raised his voice when he explained to me what happened. He even tried to consider (rather charitably, I thought) how this might have been a simple misunderstanding, rather than something more sinister. The idea that there is anything “threatening” about Mike is almost laughable. In addition to the decent and sensitive affect that Mike radiates, his tattoos are quite overtly cultural, religious & political. They are not “violent” & they certainly not “gang tattoos”. A person would have to be excessively ignorant or bigoted (or both) in order not to realize this. For Christ’s Sake, up until a few years ago Mike was a high school music teacher at a prestigious private school in Atlanta – hardly the resume of a threat to air safety!

The fact that something like this can, and did happen is appalling. That there hasn’t been some action to rectify this on the part of the airline is beyond appalling. Mike’s account of this is not hyperbole, this really did happen. It was profoundly unjust act – and whether it was racism, classism, or some other combination of bigotry, it is quite upsetting. The fact that a decent & thoughtful artist is not allowed to practice peaceful & artistic expressions simply because they make an ignorant person uncomfortable is not right.

For TDV, this doesn’t come as a surprise, and that’s why we are working with many of our readers and other clients on internationalizing their assets: so that, worst case scenario, if they ever find themselves unable to fly or even on a ‘no fly list’, they need not worry about their assets. An exciting initiative is the TDV Wealth Management Crisis Conference. If you have significant assets (or are well on your way to having them, perhaps because you’ve taken some of our advice), then this is the conference for you. If you don’t have significant assets, and don’t want to move, say, to the beautiful Baja California coastline (a short, safe trip, at all times, to the USSA), then TDV’s Homegrown is for you.  And, to relieve the stress you will face, be sure to have another sort of homegrown on hand…

We recently reported that the TSA considers 75% of airline passengers as possible terror suspects. Apathetic Amerikans think, “this can only happen to muslims,” but you are wrong.

It will likely over the coming years grow increasingly difficult for US citizens to fly without being harassed by TSA agents or flight attendants or men and women in uniforms of any kind (not my type). TDV editor Redmond Weissenberger recently related a story to me in which his sister was not allowed to travel abroad because her passport had become too worn. The US makes this perfectly clear: if your passport is worn, you might not be able to fly.  This and other reasons are why we’ve championed for many years getting out of dodge, and living a free life abroad. Maybe it is time for Mikeflo to consider doing the same.

As for you, if you really think that you can get out of the US now, no problem and every time, you are behind the times. Unfortunately, the future is upon those of you still in the US, and it might be smart to use your passport and fly from time-to-time, solely for the purpose of discovering if you still can, if you plan to stay there for much longer.

Next thing you’ll know, it just won’t be face tattoos and Islam that disallow you from flying, but unpaid taxes, debts and criminal records (do you enjoy plants?) just the same.

Good luck in there.

Do what you can to stay free. Take travel seriously in the US. You never know when your plans could be ruined for some petty reasons. These petty reasons pose a real threat to your freedom as an individual, and they’re not to be taken lightly.

With that said, Happy New Year! (almost)

I am currently in Cancun, Mexico, trying to escape the tourist area because it reminds me too much of the US. I hear of a “raunchy side of town where the fun bars are,” from a Facebook friend of mine. Consider me on my way there.