The EnterPAINment Industry: Akon
A Muslim family in Missouri gave birth to a son named Aliaune Damala Badara. He spent a few years after here in the united states but his life was mostly spent in Senegal, West Africa. His mother is a dancer. His father is a percussionist. So, he was often around music as a child. When he was 7, his family relocated back to the states. They were living in New Jersey. That is where he and his family settled down. While there, he had difficulties getting along with other children. In high school, his family left him on his own. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia. There, he was involved in criminal activities. In 1998, he was arrested for possession for a stolen BMW. He was placed in jail. During his time behind bars, he fell into what he grew up around. He started to love music. When he was released from Jail he took that same passion along. He started to pursue it. He started being mentored by Devyn Stephens. Stephens is president of upfront management. After a lengthy process, Stephens signed him to his production company. As a response, he was groomed to be more professional while doing music as a singer and a rapper. Major label Universal began to take notice. The once troubled Badara became known as rapper/singer AKON.
Akon is a singer and a rapper. His success was immediate, but his lyrics were symbolic. His albums were as well. They seemed to display what he was often dealing with. His first album was called TROUBLE. The album was released in 2004. The album featured some of the industries biggest artists. It was a mixture of his style and the east coast style. When he was featured on albums things did not really change. His next album was in 2006 (KONVICTED). That same year he was apart of his first tour. While apart of his first tour, he was planning one to promote his second album. The tour was titled KONVICTED. By now, what he could bring was greatly appreciated. He started touring with others. Those included GWEN STEFANI (The sweet escape tour), RIHANNA (Good Girl Gone Bad), T-Pain, and Usher. During those tours, he won awards. He was nominated for Grammys. In 2007 he won Artist of the Year, the worlds best selling internet artist, best African artist and best R&B artist. The time and effort he put in his music was not ignored. His catchy style took the industry and the listeners by storm. Despite the success he had in his music, it came with a cost. A cost that that he had the money to pay but his soul didn't.
Akon’s first two albums were a huge success and he had the award nominations to proof it. Many of those nominations he won. Akon had a vision to use what he has obtained through his music. He wanted to help his country. He recorded his new and final album called FREEDOM (2008). The album had mixed reviews. They were mixed because the album did not sound like his previous two. His hooks were still catchy. The beats were still nice. The clubs still played it and he was still in demand. The album debuted at number seven on the billboard 200. Over 100, 000 copies were sold the first week. The singles to the album were hits the album had features from rappers Lil Wayne and rapper Young Jeezy. On this album you noticed he was more mature. He was free. He perfected his music but was focused on making life better for his country. Akon was funding that huge vision he had for his country. The vision will not only help his own country. It will help the countries around it too. The change did not go unnoticed.
Akon was free and loved it. He became a platinum selling artist. He was living the life he wanted and his success opened doors. One of those doors led TV and film. Akon was working on a reality show while doing his music. Akon based the show on identical twin brothers. In Atlanta, the twins were often mistake for the artist. In 2006, he was said to be working on a movie titled ILLEGAL ALIEN. The film will be based on his life. He was also working on a film titled COCAINE COWBOYS. Along with the films, Akon was also featured on normal TV shows. It was 2014 when he starred in a film. That price he paid was his past. In 2007, he drew criticism for an onstage act. The act included sex with an under-aged girl. The stage was in a club in Trinidad and Tobago. The incident was filmed and uploaded on social media. Akon couldn’t really deny it. The accusation caused him to lose sponsors. Despite him losing the sponsors, his label did not back off. They ordered the video to be removed from social media. Akon was accused of degrading women. That same year at a concert in New York a concert attendee threw something at the artist on stage. Akon identified them and had his security team escort them out. Akon said that the incident was staged, and he knew all about it. Despite it being staged, he still suffered consequences. He was charged. His music seemed to insult a Buddhist group in 2010. Therefore, the group decided not to issue him a visa enter the country of SRI LANKA. He apologized for that incident he had with that under aged girl on stage. He had that over his head for a while. He apologized to his fans and her family. Could it be because of the sponsors he lost? No one will never know. It is just good to know that he came out, owned up to it and apologized for it.
Akon is a multi-platinum artist. An artist that made sure to not be entangled with the pain of the industry. He made mistakes, but he cleaned it up. Afterwards, he made sure to not repeat them. He makes sure that people understand that he offers more than music. He owns a clothing line in NYC. He owns a diamond mine in Africa. He’s shown the world that he is a businessman. He was when he walked into the industry. Along with that diamond mine in Africa, he also owns an AFRICAN SOLAR LIGHTING COMPANY. That was his vision all along. He wanted to give back to his country. With his company he did so. He lit up Africa. He started doing it in 2014 with a few business partners. The project is aimed to provide solar energy in the country. He remembers how he grew up when he was young. He spent much of his childhood in Senegal. They had no electricity. Along with that country, there were numerous others without it. Akon had that vision all along. The success of the project launched schools that will teach students to do the same. He launches the gift that will continue giving.
- Akon: Why I’m a changed man | The New Times | Rwanda
From the soundproofed walls and floor to the large sofas and keyboard racks, there’s only one prevailing color inside Akon’s state-of-the-art personal studio.
- Akon: I want to sincerely apologise for dry humping that teen girl | Music | The Guardian
The R&B singer says sorry for the simulated sex shortly after his tour with Gwen Stefani loses $3m in sponsorship over the controversy
- Akon Talks About His Business Interests In Africa
Singer Akon talks about his businesses in Africa -- solar lighting, a diamond mine -- and how he's a businessman first and a musician second.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Ryan Jarvis Cornelius