Akon has confessed to lying about being an “African prince” when he was younger in a recent podcast appearance.
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The pop-rap star – real name Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam – was born to Senegalese parents in St. Louis, Missouri before relocating to New Jersey. However, due to his family spending a lot of his childhood in Senegal, he thinks of the country as home.
Whilst talking to N.O.R.E and DJ EFN on Drink Champs, he revealed that he would lie about being an “African prince” while living in New Jersey because “he wanted to feel accepted.”
“I used the excuse that I was a survivor because it made me feel better about it,” he said. “But there was nothing for me to survive. Because my parents were actually really wealthy. I was living in New Jersey. We lived in a three-story house, just me and my older brother. So when I think about it, we were just bored as hell.”
Thiam continued: “I think a lot of my choices came from wanting to be accepted, you know? So that’s how I got caught into all the things that I got caught into, including cars. Because cars made me feel special. I was young, I could drive with the most elite vehicles, and I ran with the scenario that I was an African prince.”
The 50-year-old came up with the idea of calling himself an “African prince” after watching the classic 1988 Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America. He recounted: “Literally, like every other month, I would come to school in a different car… I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m an African prince.’ And they believed it because of the whip that I was driving in!”
Thiam had spoken about lying about being an African prince before. Back in 2010, he was featured in an episode of When I Was 17, when he said: “I think I was a young hustler at that time. I told everybody, ‘I’m a prince!’”
His brother Omar further admitted that “people just didn’t know any better so they believed that we were princes from Africa.”
Meanwhile, Akon has been running his philanthropic organisation Akon Lighting Africa since 2014. In 2020, Akon announced that he was making a city called Akon City that would utilise his own cryptocurrency called Akoin. In 2021, the ‘Smack That’ rapperthen revealed plans to create a second city in Uganda.