Akon, the 41 year old rapper who dropped off most radars circa 2007, has found himself back in the public eye for health and safety reasons. Though born in Missouri, Akon spent most of his childhood growing up in West Africa, and as a result he feels a strong cultural connection with the continent. So in order to payback the motherland for his identity, he subjected them to a show celebrating the United Nations International Day of Peace. I was confused as to who was still booking him, but it turns out the organisers gave away 60,000 free tickets, so he must be pretty cheap to put on these days.
The R&B mogul of the noughties has been branded health conscious and fear mongering after crowd surfing at his show in the Congo in an inflatable bubble, reminiscent of 2001 film "Bubble Boy". The use of his protective gear resulted in much speculation on social media that he was protecting himself against the Ebola virus. This speculation manifested into fact, leaving thousands of people in disbelief at the lengths of his precautions. His actions plummeted from good-willed and humanitarian to insensitive and ridiculous, a trajectory mirrored by his waning career.
However, it turns out crowd surfing in a giant bubble is actually Akon’s thing, and he's been doing it at shows since 2010. Video footage shows him bouncing across crowds from Perth to Dubai, rolling off the stage in all his auto-tuned glory. While there may have been an element of precaution in his actions, Akon probably went Zorbing once and just really enjoyed himself. Hell, maybe he just didn’t want anyone to grab his junk.
Poor Akon has found himself under criticism for his actions before. His whole shtick was blown apart when sleuths revealed he’d never been in prison for stealing a car, a story that brought his early albums a lot of publicity. There was also that whole simulating sex on a 15 year old girl on stage thing when he thought she was 21, which pretty much nailed the coffin shut on his career.
His upcoming album, Stadium, has been upcoming for over a year now. He's released one track off it, and that was in November 2013. No one has heard anything else about it since.