Popular singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam popularly known as Akon has challenged the African press to be more responsible and to redefine the image of the continent.
The singer, who made the statement while addressing a gathering of African Youth at the YouthConnekt Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, said that “it is the responsibility of African media to redefine the image of Africa”
This world is all about branding. The number one brander in the world is the United States, they brand it as if it is the best place in the world to live. It is the land of the free, land of the brave, he said.
“We have to be able to tell our own stories, directors, filmmakers, entertainers, and the press, it is going to be your job to redefine how people think about Africa,” he added.
“One of the problems we have in Africa is that when something happens the press is quick to put out negative energy, quick to put our negative story, and then that story goes out to the internet and to other broadcasting systems take it and they post it,” he noted.
While condemning the scary way stories about Africa are being reported by the media, he lamented that, “When you look at places like Kenya for instances that I know of two terror attacks but it was everywhere so now people are afraid to go to Kenya because someone shut at the mall. But then when you look online there was about 25 thousand attacks in the US but you only know about 5 or 6.”
“So we have to really rebrand, and then when you look at how the world perceives Africa, they are right. You see Zebras, lions, tigers, bears, oh mind… You get to the point; you think that Africa is a big jungle,” he told the gathering.