Akon Reflects on Career Journey: The Challenges of Embracing African Identity
Senegalese-American Singer Discusses Navigating Cultural Identity and Commercial Success
World-renowned Senegalese-American singer, Akon, has opened up about the complexities of his career journey, shedding light on the challenges he faced in reconciling his African identity with the music industry’s demands.
“One of the biggest things that I had to actually distance myself from at the time when I did come out, was the fact that I was African. That wasn’t really something that they could market or promote in that kind of arena that I was actually playing in.”
He elaborated on the commercial landscape of the time, explaining that Africa and its rich culture were not considered marketable commodities. To achieve success in the industry, he made a conscious choice to temporarily set aside his African identity.
Furthermore, Akon shared how financial pressures and the urgent need to generate income had an impact on his career. The relentless pursuit of success led to a highly calculated approach, which, in turn, created a sense of stress and began to feel like work.
“Everything had to be so calculated, it became stressful and starts to feel like work,”
Akon’s candid insights into his career trajectory shed light on the complexities artists often face when navigating their cultural identity in the ever-evolving music industry. His journey serves as a testament to the transformative power of music and the resilience required to achieve success while staying true to one’s roots.