Akon appeared on the Drink Champs podcast with Noreaga and DJ EFN to talk about his career trajectory and why Black people should start corporations in Africa.
The Senegalese entertainer rose to prominence in 2004 with his chart-topping single, “Locked Up.” He then had a lucrative music career, which included signing pop star Lady Gaga before starting Akon Lighting Africa, a project aimed at providing solar-powered electricity to the continent, in 2014.
During the interview, Noreaga asked Akon why Black people should invest in Africa. He responded, “We have a tendency to blame the White man for everything that’s gone wrong. That’s how a majority of the African-Americans in America feel, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true . . . with the circumstances around us that’s why we believe that.”
Akon explained how Black people have built up America culturally but still own next to nothing. “This is the opportunity now to own that in which we’re complaining about. In Africa, it’s a clean slate. You can build that empire there, and you can build that infrastructure there. [Black people] already have the information and are educated on it because we’ve done it here and made billions for corporations.”
The other difference he noted was how quickly Blacks could profit from their investment in the motherland. “Africa’s the only place in the world where Black people can go and build Fortune 500 companies from scratch within five years.”
Listen to what Akon has to say about the continent at the 1:25:00 mark.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.