Akon for President? How he could change the way you look at celebrities in politics
Akon is seriously considering running for President of the United States in 2020. No, seriously, I’m not joking.
The founder of Konvict Muzik, author of hits “Smack That,” “Sexy Bitch,” and “Locked Up,” — the man responsible for finding Lady Gaga and who once threw a kid off stage — wants to be the leader of the free world and, honestly, that’s not close to the being the most far-out news I’ve heard this year.
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In an interview with Newsweek, the 45-year-old R&B star announced his plans to make a bid for the White House against current incumbent Donald Trump in 2020 but wants to “continue doing what he’s doing” in order to gain the support he needs. Akon said,
“I’ve been thinking about running for 2020 very seriously. But I didn’t want to just do it because I feel like I want to continue doing what I’m doing and hope that builds me enough momentum [for people] to say, ‘You know what, if you run we’ll support you,'”
If you’re wondering what Akon is doing, let me just tell you, you’ll need to sit down and take a load off to hear the half.
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His four-year-old solar panel initiative, Akon Lighting Africa, has already brought electricity to hundreds of communities in 15 countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, and Senegal, where the St. Louis, Missouri native spent much of his childhood.
He’s even developed his own Cryptocurrency – Akoin — and he’s working on erecting a metropolitan called Akoin’s Crypto City which, Akon told Newsweek, could one day compare with Dubai.
Just five to eight years ago Akon’s — or any celebrity for that matter — Presidential bid might have seemed like a joke, but today, it’s as real than any other Presidential declaration. For nothing has been the same since Trump became President in 2016.
When The Apprentice creator and former owner of the Ms. America Beauty Pagent beat out Hillary Clinton for the 45th President of the United States, not only was there a shockwave sent throughout the country but it created a significant shift in the paradigm of American Politics.
Up until Trump, politics seemed like this far-off topic that only elderly adults were in to. In a lot of our heads, the issues didn’t affect us and even if they did, we felt like we really didn’t have a say.
Yes, the ‘vote’ was always there but the gravity of the potential difference that ‘vote’ made didn’t hit us until a man, who, when on referring to women, is on audio saying “grab them by the p****.” However, his election has appeared to have woken many people up.
Everyone and their momma is tuning in to what is happening in the White House and are more encouraged to be a part of what’s going on than ever. From teens and young adults all the way to the elderly, Trump has made us realize our role in the functionality of our government.
Last year, Vogue writer Lauren Duca wrote a scathing opinion column about Donald Trump titled, “Donald Trump Is Gaslighting America” that went viral. Sites like Bustle and Mic, which are aimed toward Millennials, are using new funding in part to build their political coverage and The New Yorker is looking for writers who can flow between the worlds of politics and culture. Kids care about what’s going on too.
Data from Chartbeat, which measures article production and consumption across online publishers, found that across a sample of thousands of publishers, there was a rise in both political coverage and readership (see chart below).
“Politics is dominating the conversation in a way we haven’t seen for a long time,” Bustle editor Kate Ward said in a 2017 interview to Digiday. “Pretty much everyone wants to talk about it on a daily basis.”
And I must say that sadly, it took Trump for people to start caring. On the flip-side, however, he may have established precedent that makes Akon’s consideration worth paying attention to.
In fact, Trump merging politics with pop culture might have even done some indirect good — for I believe celebrity is good government. It gets people to pay attention.
Traditionally, the idea of celebrities strictly as entertainers had been embraced by right-wingers for a while because “Hollywood types” have been known to lean left.
Granted, Republicans have had celebrities in the past like President Ronald Reagan, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee as part of their fold, but seeing as Hollywood as a whole as capable and worthy of commentary has never been a thing until now.
Trump is not the smoothest talker, attractive, or even the sharpest tool in the shed and he has gotten the red base firey over voting and has supporters in droves.
Though owning a historically low approval rating, he brought out record numbers to the polls for the 2016 election, and it may be in part because people find Celebs more interesting. We now live in a culture where celebrities have become influencers not just in the arts but in society as a whole.
Although Akon grew up in Senegal, he was born in the United States, making him very much eligible to run and he’s done more globally out of office than Trump has done, in.
So, if Akon takes on the President he has my vote. Or, I’ll just wait and vote for Lil B.