Charly Black accuses airline security personnel of racial profiling

May 05, 2022
Charly Black

Artiste manager Julian Jones-Griffith said that there are plans to submit a formal complaint after diamond-selling dancehall entertainer Charly Black accused airline security personnel at the Newark Airport in New Jersey for racially profiling him and his team.

This after the entertainer said that they were subjected to a search and were restricted from taking their wallets and mobile phones while boarding a flight to Israel on May 3.

“At the time it did not seem possible as it was the head of the airline security that Charly Black and the team were dealing with. But we have since found out the details for the airline security company and will be doing so,” said Jones-Griffith. In a series of Instagram story posts, the artiste alerted fans that he would not be able to make it to Israel due to the incident and apologised for disappointing them. In an interview with THE STAR while still at the airport, he said he and his team were scheduled to transit through New Jersey to reach Israel at 2 p.m. on May 4.

“I know racism exists but I have never experienced it in this way … that man was doing everything in his power for the three of us travelling not to get on the flight,” Charly Black said. “I have experienced racial profiling before while in Europe but it was never anything close to this. And I’ve never had to deal with this while flying or in an airport at no time in my life or in no other country from any airline or security personnel.”

The Call Upon You entertainer was expected to have the Charly Black Live show as part of the 2022 Independence Festival celebrations which ended today. It would not have been the first time he performed in Israel. On his last visit in October 2019, he had back-to-back sold-out shows. There are no limits to the amount of cash a visitor can bring into Israel but by law, if it’s 80,000 New Israeli Shekels or more, or the equivalent in a foreign currency, it must be declared. This would be equivalent to approximately US$23,600 but Charly Black said that he was not travelling with anything close to that amount.

“We have just enough money for basic needs like food and water and regular travelling expenses,” he said. “I never had so much money on me none at all, but we agreed to put our wallets and phones which he said we could not travel with in our checked luggage. And even then we were subjected to further questioning and searches in separate rooms for two and a half hours after our flight was to depart.” Charly Black has since returned to Jamaica. “We ended up missing the flight, nobody offered a refund or tried to apologise or do anything,” he said.

Jones-Griffith noted that the artiste and his team were the only three black people on board.

“To know that when the team agreed to comply with demands to place their phones and wallets in their luggage, the representative told them it would have to go through extra security checks and that he could not guarantee their baggage would arrive in Israel until the next day, with no form of cash or card or a way to contact the promoter, that did not make any sense,” he said.

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