Rapper Ja Rule cancels UK tour days before Wembley Arena gig as he is 'denied entry' to the country

Ja Rule’s UK tour was due to start later this week  (PA Archive)
Ja Rule’s UK tour was due to start later this week (PA Archive)

Rapper Ja Rule has said he has been denied entry into the UK, days before the start of his UK tour.

The US musician, 47, real name Jeffrey Bruce Atkins Sr, was due to kick off his Sunrise tour at the Utilita Arena in Cardiff on Friday, before gigs in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Leeds and Liverpool.

He was scheduled to play the 12,500 capacity OVO Arena Wembley on Saturday - as part of an eight date tour - but the shows have now apparently been cancelled.

The star has said he will not be able to perform because he is not allowed to enter the country.

He wrote on social media: “I’m so devastated. I can’t believe the UK won’t let me in. I’ve spent a half million dollars in production of my own money to put this tour together only to be denied entry DAYS before my shows. This is not fair to me or my fans, these venues are 85% sold and now I can’t come…

“The UK is one of the few European countries that restricts entry to people with criminal records.

“In general, you will likely be denied entry if you have been convicted of a crime punishable by 23 months or more under British law or served more than 12 months in prison.”

Ja Rule was released from prison in May 2013 after serving two years on gun and tax evasion charges.

Ticketmaster has stopped selling tickets saying shows, including the London gig, have been cancelled.

A promoter statement on the Ovo Arena website said: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, we regret to inform you that Ja Rule's "The Sunrise Tour" in the UK and Ireland next month has been cancelled. Refunds will be issued from your point of purchase.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.” Other venues are carrying the same statement.

After one fan tweeted Ticketmaster to ask about refunds, the website’s customer service team replied: “Once we receive confirmed info an email will be sent to all customers for the event.”

Ja Rule was due to be supported on the tour by Mya, Keri Hilson and Lloyd.

He is best known for hits such as Always On Time, featuring Ashanti, and Thug Lovin’.

The rapper was previously at the centre of controversy over the doomed Fyre Festival, but was cleared of any legal wrongdoing.

The disastrous 2017 event resulted in organiser Billy McFarland going to prison for fraud.

The festival was scheduled to take place in the Bahamas in 2017 but caused more than 26 million US dollars (£20 million) in losses when it was cancelled for inadequate accommodation, food and water.