In an appearance on The Real on Monday, the singer behind hits like “Smack That” and “I Wanna Love You” talked about his decision to not run in the upcoming election because of his desire to continue working on new music. However, Akon revealed that a presidential campaign in the future “might be possible.”
“I know what the issues are. And as a person, as an immigrant, as a black man, as whatever you want to call it, I kinda know or feel like I know that I can take the country and move it forward,” Akon said. “I really believe so.”
The 46-year-old who was born in St. Louis, Mo. and spent a majority of his childhood in Senegal is known for his musical feats, but has also taken on a number of other ventures in recent years. He spoke about his various projects, which included creating a cryptocurrency, in an interview with Newsweek in October 2018. It was then that he discussed the idea of throwing his hat into the ring in the 2020 election.
“I feel a lot more unsafe. I feel unempowered. Honestly, I feel it's gonna be a fight,” he said about Trump’s presidency at the time. “I've been thinking about running for 2020 very seriously.”
Since changing those plans as a result of his musical ventures, however, Akon told the women of The Real that he’s continued to do work in politics abroad.
“I’m literally advising 30 African presidents as we speak,” he said. “And it’s all based on the youth, the development of the youth and things of that nature. And I’m everywhere in the world dealing with politics, so my foreign experience is through the roof.”
When asked about going up against Kanye West, who has also expressed his interest in a presidential run in 2024, Akon said it wouldn’t be a competition.
“I honestly need him to run, I want him to run,” he explained. “My thing is, if he does run, it’s great for the culture. Now, whether or not you think he’s fit is another thing, that’s why you got me as another choice.”
Akon went on to assure the co-hosts that he doesn’t think West is “crazy,” but instead says that the rapper is “awakened.” He later explained to TMZ that although he’s “nowhere near aligned with Trump,” he thinks that the difference in his political beliefs from West’s would make for a good team. Akon even said he would “one thousand percent” run as West’s vice president.
“Working together we could now both fulfill the overall play of what the American people is looking for and I think that would be a great compromise,” he said of their different perspectives. “The combination could be something, you just never know. We just have to wait for that time to come and see. [...] I can’t predict it.”
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