Aliaune Thiam’s father was a famous drummer, and his mother was a well-known dancer. Those musical genes helped the boy become a performer in his own right—but the road to stardom was not without twists and turns.
At first, Thiam was a small-time criminal who sold test answers and marijuana. Soon he became more daring, stealing cars and selling them to drug dealers. By his early twenties, he was head of a national auto-theft operation. Eventually the law caught up with him and he spent three years in prison. That time behind bars gave him a chance to think about his life and turn it around.
Now known as Akon, the former car thief has changed his ways to become one of the world’s most popular—and controversial—R&B artists. He’s got his own record label and clothing lines, and he’s breaking into movies and television. But no matter how big he gets, Akon says he’ll never take his blessings for granted