Rapper Akon’s says Africa needs better branding

Hip-hop star Akon was in D.C. this week to meet with African delegations about his new solar-power energy initiative called Akon Lighting Africa. The Senegal native explains to The Reliable Source his take on the emerging continent and three things he wants you to know. (JulieAnn McKellogg/The Washington Post)

Rapper Akon has taken on a pretty big task in 2014. The “Locked Up” and “Smack That” crooner plans to bring solar electricity to more than 1 million homes in Africa. No big deal, he told us recently. Because of his ties to the continent and commitment to action, the Senegalese singer’s initiative, Akon Lighting Africa, is on track to meet its goal by the end of the year.

The 41-year-old sat down with the Reliable Source this week during the U.S.-Africa Leader Summit to talk celebrity activism, African cribs and why he believes President Obama can change the continent’s brand.  

Follow more of the big dinner’s news here from Lionel Richie’s pseudo-African song lyrics to what 1600 Penn. will have on the menu.

More from The Reliable Source:

The story behind Jill Biden’s wax print dress at last night’s White House dinner

Remember those ‘African’ lyrics in Lionel Richie’s hit ‘All Night Long’? Yeah, they’re just gibberish.

The first lady of Cameroon and her hair have touched down in D.C.

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Helena Andrews is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews, and send your hot tips, sightings, and gossip to reliablesource@washpost.com.

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Emily Heil · August 6, 2014