Akon, whose real name is Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, was born in St Louis, Missouri and grew up in various places including Senegal and Newark, New Jersey.
Akon is a Muslim and uses his religion to justify his claims that he has three wives. You know, because Muslims can have up to four wives. But considering his raunchy sex party music videos and controversies involving him and sex acts with underage girls, he’s probably not a great husband–or Muslim. But he still finds it in his heart to give a shout-out to Allah in one of his songs, “Senegal,” He raps:
So what you know about how God comes first in our lives, everything that we do is for Allah/So what you know about that Holy place called Touba where Prophets are born/So what you know about comin here, gettin money and investing it back home.
Speaking of raunchy sex party music videos, Akon is no friend to Buddhists, at least Buddhists of the Sri Lankan variety. His video for the song “Sexy Chick” featured a statue of Buddha at a wild and crazy dance party where scantily-clad women rubbed up against the singer. Buddhists in Sri Lanka were so offended that Akon was denied a visa to perform in the country. Akon said:
[I] am a spiritual man, so I can understand why they are offended.
Stuck in the middle
Akon’s politics range from African diamond controversy to attempting to unite disparate U.S. political factions.
Akon is a part-owner of an African diamond mine. It’s almost a guarantee that there are some human rights violations going on and Akon has denied that such a thing even exists, saying:
I don’t even believe in conflict diamonds. That’s just a movie. Think about it. Ain’t nobody thought about nothing about no conflict diamonds until the movie, [,Blood Diamond,], came out. Where was all that shit before the movie?
In the U.S., Akon is a confirmed centrist–not Republican, not Democrat, and pissed off that these politicians can’t just get along long enough to get anything done. Hey, aren’t we all?
Akon donated a song to a political organization called “No Labels,” which attempts to get centrist politicians elected so as to dampen rampant partisanship in U.S. politics. In the song, Akon sings:
He’s a Democrat/ He’s Republican/ There’s a fight and a race who’s gonna win/ put your differences aside ‘man up’ you can/ 'Cause there’s way too many people suffering/ I wish they didn’t have ‘No Labels’/ There’d be more change with ‘No Labels.’
He makes a good point. In fact, Akon seems to be rather politically astute–despite his supposed ignorance of conflict diamonds. He once tweeted:
Politics is the art of postponing a decision until it is no longer relevant!