“Akonda” — Akon’s Homecoming Album, just Akonic
It has been about three (3) years since an article Akon Delivers New Album AKONDA, reported on the “reconnections” between Akon and his West African heritage encapsulated in an album Akonda — an Afrobeats-influenced, ten-track release, featuring “ a slew of emerging stars from Nigeria … including Olamide, Kizz Daniel and Skales.”
While “Low Key” is reportedly the album’s lead track, it is the following two tracks that captured my imagination and raison d’etre for this article: Track 8 entitled “ Kryptonite,” and Track 10 labelled “ Wakonda.”
“‘Wakonda’ is a Black Panther-referencing parody of the UK sensation at the forefront of the flourishing ‘Afrowave’ sound, Afro B, with the hit ‘Drogba (Joanna)’, a track that is currently in the Hip-Hop Singles charts Top 10.”
Looking back at my 2011 article “ Marketing Senegal through hip-hop — a discourse analysis of Akon’s music and lyrics” assessing the man, his diasporic chords and the place marketing of Africa in general and Senegal in particular, I must say that I am pleased with the following highlights.
Although almost a decade ago, my article on Akon sought to highlight hip-hop’s contribution to the entrepreneurship and place marketing literature from the lens of an individual artist, whose music and lyrics ‐ a “hybrid of silky, West African-styled vocals mixed with North America’s East Coast and Southern beats.”
Key highlights included:
“Through music, Akon has bridged socio-cultural (ethnic cuisine, immigration and social exclusion, faith or spirituality) and economic attributes (notably remittances) — with implications for entrepreneurship and place marketing.”
Such “homecoming” can be better appreciated in the context of what I call the “triple Play” — Akon, Akonic, Afrobeats…
The narrative speaks to our recently published book, “The Creative Industries and International Business Development in Africa,” An imprint of Emerald Publishing. In that book, we touched upon contemporary themes, including:
“Events such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), Brexit (the exit of Britain from the European Union or EU), the Commonwealth, as well as the march towards achieving the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).”
In terms of sector impact, we noted that some have been more adversely affected than others — “While the winners have been mostly those with a digital footprint e.g., streaming services and video-conferencing giants, the creative industries have felt a much harder blow.”
We drew upon the categorisations of the UK’s Creative Industries Federation, to interrogate, and highlight, the challenges and opportunities of the creative industries in Africa. This is with a view to aggregating how the sector has coped with a myriad of challenges even before the pandemic.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.