CELEB AFRICA NETWORK

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

AKON THE WORLD SENSATION FROM SENEGAL AFRICA





Akon (born Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam), (pronounced /ˈeɪkɒn/),[1] is a Senegalese-American R&B singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, businessman, and philanthropist. He rose to prominence in 2004 following the release of "Locked Up”, the first single from his debut album Trouble. His second album, Konvicted, earned him a Grammy Award nomination of the single "Smack That". He has since found two record labels, Konvict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution. He is known as one of the most successful and versatile R&B singers of the 21st century, grossing over 30 million dollars a year according to Forbes. Akon often sings hooks for other artists and is currently accredited with over 300 guest appearances and 40 Billboard Hot 100 songs. He is the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice.[2] He has had 6 Grammy Awards nominations and has produced many hits for artists such as Lady Gaga, Colby O'Donis and Leona Lewis.
Background

Akon has claimed in interviews that his full name is Aliaune Damala Akon Thiam[3] although there is some ambiguity and debate about Akon's legal name and birth date. Akon is usually credited as Aliaune Thiam.[4][5] In addition to the longer form, Akon's full name has been reported both as Aliaune Badara Thiam and Alioune Badara Thiam [6] and About.com claims that this middle name has never been independently verified.[7] In regards to his birth date, some media institutions have reported that Akon was born in 1981. Other sources, including the AP, have indicated that Akon was born in 1973 and was delivered by Senegalese doctor Magueye Seck.

Legal documents released by The Smoking Gun list Akon's name as Aliaune Damala Thiam and his date of birth as 1973-04-30[8] or 1973-04-16,[9] however the BBC states he was born on 14 October 1981. It has since been reported by various media sources that he was born in 1977.
Early life

As the son of Senegalese percussionist Mor Thiam, Akon was raised in a musical setting and taught to play several instruments including the djembe. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S., so that he would not have to go through the immigration process, but he lived in Dakar, Senegal until the age of 7, split time between America and Senegal until he was 15, then he moved permanently to Jersey City, New Jersey.[10]

During Akon's alleged time in jail for three years, he began to understand his music abilities and developed an appreciation for his musical background. Akon's unique blend of West-African-style, skills and moves eventually caught the ears of executives at Universal. Akon began writing and recording tracks in his home studio. The tapes found their way to SRC/Universal, which released Akon's debut LP Trouble in June 2004. The album is a hybrid of Akon's silky, West African-styled vocals mixed with East Coast and Southern beats. Most of Akon's songs begin with the sound of the clank of a jail cell's door with him uttering the word "Konvict".[11]
Personal life and allegations

He has also been rumored to have three wives, however he has since revealed that he only has one, named Tomeka. Akon claims he has six children with three different women in an interview with Blender.[12] Akon claims to have great relationships with all his children, and that he wishes to keep his family protected from the public eye. He also states that his religion made him a better person, and provides guidance to how he acts among others in life.[13]

He also has his own charity for underprivileged children in Africa called Konfidence Foundation.[14] Akon owns a diamond mine in South Africa and denies the existence of blood diamonds (also known as "conflict diamonds") saying, "I don't believe in conflict diamonds. That's just a movie. Think about it. Nobody thought or cared about conflict diamonds until "Blood Diamond" was released. "[15] However, he has since stated that he does accept that blood diamonds exist, and that he is partial-owner of an African mine that is dedicated to avoiding use of blood diamonds while also donating profits to local communities.[16]

"The Smoking Gun" reported in April 2008 that much of Akon's purported criminal and incarceration history has been dramatically embellished.[17][18][19] In particular, Akon's claims to be part of an auto-theft ring and his claim to have spent three years in prison were challenged with court records and interviews with detectives involved in Akon's case.

According to "The Smoking Gun's" article, Akon was not convicted of any crime and did not serve any time in prison from 1999 to 2002 as previously claimed. He stated that "The Smoking Gun's" attempt to “discredit” him “makes no sense as it is something he is trying to forget.” Akon retorted that he never spent 3 years in prison consecutively, but many shorter sentences that add up to three years, and cites that as the mis-understanding by The Smoking Gun's article [20]

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