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Musical artist Akon
I used to enjoy listening to Akon's music very much and it appears that he might be making a really big comeback. Perhaps he never really left the music scene but I know that I had stopped hearing about him for quite a while.
His performance of "Work Hard, Play Hard" with David Guetta and Neyo at the 2013 Billboard Music Awards show reignited my enthusiasm for his musical talent.
Akon is a handsome and talented Senegalese singer and father of six children with three different women, all of whom he claims to have a good relationship with. He is also a Muslim. Earlier in his life, he was involved in strings of petty crimes as well as auto theft and is said to have spent over three years in prison inclusive. He has been known to put a spin on the word convict, replacing the c with a k for convict and the name Akon itself might be a play on the phrase, a con, a con artist, a convict.
Did Akon's criminal past give him "street cred"?
While Akon had publicly stated that he was not proud of the crime in his past, he had been criticized for branding with it and perhaps trying to capitalize on it as well as exaggerating the extent of his criminal past. He dismissed dissenters, saying that it would be ridiculous to exaggerate and call more attention to something that he was not proud of. This is all discussed on his Wikipedia page.
Akon's rise to success
Despite what anyone might say, Akon had recognizable talent and grew to great fame and success in the music industry. He performed both as a solo artist and did collaborations. Songs such as "Locked up" with Styles P and "Lonely" had great harmonies and melodies. The songs were catchy and relatable for fans from all walks of life including the criminals, the ex-cons, the young innocent teens getting over their first love and more.
While Akon sang some songs with explicit content not appropriate for children, those could easily be avoided in favor of his clean songs.
He's a gifted singer with a great sound so many were listening to at least some of his music and not avoiding it altogether.
Akon Controversy and stall
Some years ago, the momentum Akon was enjoying seemed to come to a halt when he performed at a concert in the twin island Caribbean country of Trinidad and Tobago. He was performing at a club that was supposed to be entertaining a crowd of people aged 21 and over only. Nevertheless, as often occurs underage people gained entry with fake identification or by whatever means. To add insult to injury, the winner of a contest at the concert was underage (14 or 15 at the time). What did the contest winner get? To go up on stage and perform a simulated sex scene with Akon! Although Akon was unaware of the girl's young age, the major inappropriateness of this caused Akon to lose endorsements and fans alike. He was scheduled to do one upcoming performance with Gwen Stefani and the endorsement for it was canceled.
Many, many, countless musical performers have embraced the idea that "sex sells" and they have been quite sexual on stage with their performances and yes, invited audience participation. Janet Jackson in the Velvet Rope tour and Usher are just a couple of examples. It seems that Akon did so in an especially bold and inappropriate way and with a young person!
Not his fault?
It is clear that Akon felt disparaged by the media and much of the public opinion of him. Often times, singers will throw their emotions and response into their music. For example, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears had been rumored to have their music videos be response to each other after they broke up their relationship years ago. Akon seemed to respond to the very public outcry regarding his actions by having a response video as well.
Sorry, Blame it on me
Some of the lyrics to the clever and catchy song, "Sorry, Blame it on Me" include:
"I'm just a singer trying to entertain" ...because I love my fans... Sorry, "you can put the blame on me"...
Basically Akon expresses in his sentiments, Where were the parents? Why was this girl allowed to go to this adults only club? If no one else wants to take responsibility, "you can put the blame on me". While apologetic, regretful, remorseful, he also seemed to feel scapegoated and unfairly given a damaged reputation.
While he may have never left, Akon is back performing at least in my world. It's nice to be reminded of how much I love his sound and enjoy listening to his music again.