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Akon: Success Allows Me to Explore My African Roots        

Over the course of a 20-year career in the music industry, Senegalese-American artist Akon has achieved great success, but it often came at the expense of sacrificing his African identity. In the early days of his career, promoters advised him to downplay his African heritage, deeming it “unmarketable.” Born in the USA, Akon spent his childhood moving between New Jersey and the African country. He learned to play several western and African instruments, but when he started to pursue a musical career in the early 2000s, he says producers were only interested in one side of his heritage. Making music at 50 years old is more about “the passion and love for music”, he says, and he’s able to include “more of an African influence” in his work because there is less pressure on him to make money.