*Akon dropped by VladTV to talk about his light up Africa Project, and he mentioned how he grew up living without electricity, which he now believes is a necessity no man, woman or child should go without.
Akon grew up in Senegal, a small country on the West coast of Africa. As you can imagine, not having electricity and running water made it quite challenging to eat, cook, or wash, as he had to use the same water from a running water well for everything.
“When I came to the United States, and [saw] the projects or what they claimed to be projects, Vlad I thought they was living in luxury, compared to what poverty is back home…” Akon explained that the US citizens have it a lot better than others around the world, and many of us may take the simple things in our Western life for granted.
Akon says his grandmother was the main inspiration behind him providing electricity to nearly 80 million Africans. He explained how she never moved from her hometown and still lived without electricity.
“Every time I would come, I would try to upgrade her, but she would never take it… one day I said ma I’m not coming to visit you anymore… you have to at least let me put electricity in the house. Come to find out the grid was so far out; I don’t care how much money I had there was no way I could bring electricity to her.” That’s when he said something had to be done, not just for his grandmother but for everyone in the rural area living without power. “Without electricity, you can’t even begin to develop a country, let alone your own home.”
READ RELATED NEWS: Akon: Men Must Have Multiple Women – Tito Jackson Drops 1st Album (WATCH)
Akon got started by partnering with some of his billionaire friends that he made during his singing career, and he used their money, influence and connections to build power plants in the five major areas of Africa so the countries could share the plants.
“I started to realize how deep it was cause this is the type of business that starts real wars, the politics was little heavier than I expected…”Akon explained that the politics behind his venture was too complicated for him, so while searching for alternative solutions, he came across Solar Energy.
“So I went to China, met up with some friends out there, some manufacturers, and aligned myself with one of the biggest companies in China, that’s own by the Chinese Government, that manufactures Solar…”
While working on the project, Akon learned there was a significant tax on solar products due to George. W Bush. “He did it because his main agenda was in oil, he needed the oil to keep burning right, so anything renewable he wanted to keep away because if effected the money.”
Akon took advantage of all the unused solar products, and the Chinese manufacturers gave him a Billion dollar credit line to start his project — which is now in 15 countries. He has provided almost 16 million people in Africa with power and energy.
Check out the clip above.
‘Love After Lockup’ Exclusive Clip: Will Destinie Go Back to Prison? [WATCH]
*The third season of WE tv’s smash hit docuseries “Love After Lockup” is back and follows lovebirds hoping to make their way down the aisle with the jailbirds who may or may not be conning them.
As noted in the press release, whether it’s dodging a parole officer, negotiating with a halfway house, or being stuck under house arrest with someone they hardly know, the realities of being on the outside are starting to hit these newly released prisoners. Will they break the law and go back to jail, or save themselves and leave their lovers broken hearted?
In our exclusive clip above from this week’s episode, Destinie worries about being sent back to prison for seven years. When her man tries to reassure her that everything will be okay, Destinie ain’t buying it. Watch the moment via the YouTube player above.
— Love After Lockup (@LuvAfterLockup) October 27, 2020
When it comes to the other couple’s this season, Maurice’s bold move stuns Jessica, and Kristianna’s fugitive status puts her whole family at risk. The road to the DMV is paved with Heather’s fury. Quaylon explores his options -– without Shavel, and it’s all going down on Friday at 9/8c on WEtv.
Meanwhile, this season on “Love After Lockup,” couples finally reunite after one is released from prison. Once the bars are gone, will their love survive after lockup on the rocky road to the altar? Will the inmates ditch their mate as they face shocking “firsts,” fights & family drama? Is it true love or just a con?
Sammie Talks Hosting HBCU Virtual Event ‘We Are The Culture’
*Urban One kicked off their exclusive virtual HBCU experience called One Yard. Bringing HBCU students, alumni, and fans a month to remember. With celebs such as Sammie, Lance Gross, and Keisha Knight Pulliam celebrating being black, young, and gifted.
EURweb correspondent Monique Loveless caught up with Sammie to talk to him about hosting One Yard’s Battle of the Beats, his new candle collection, and the new music he’s working on.
“We’re so powerful. We’re so excellent. We are the culture. We are the swagger. We are the epitome of I feel godliness.” Sammie says, “When I graduated high school I was if I didn’t return back to the music business, going to attend FAMU,” He goes on, “It’s always been a part of me to just keep that alive and to keep that energy going. So it’s imperative and I’m happy to be a part.”
It has always been HBCU’s culture to take pride and celebrate homecoming. One Yard is a platform that embraces technology and innovation to ensure that audiences are able to enjoy the myriad experiences that Black Colleges and Universities offer wherever they are. Throughout this experience, guests will be hosted by HBCU alumni all-time favorite celebrities and influencers, to bring them these exclusive events.
“Yes, a homecoming ordeal is a big deal. This is like huge, you know what I’m saying?” The singer goes on, “I don’t get excited about a lot of things. That’s the emotion that I kind of lack. But I am excited to be a part of this because I missed out on the college experience.”
I’m pretty sure this isn’t the only thing the Friend’s Zone singer is excited about. As he has officially become a business owner, opening his very first candle store in Conners, Georgia called Simply Naked Candles. He is also releasing his sixth studio album in 2021 called Sunset. In the meantime, while you’re waiting on his next album, grab your Simply Naked Candles and check out him hosting One Yard.
Alyson Williams’ New Release ‘Summer Nights in Harlem’ is Now Available / LISTEN
The veteran singer brings a jazzy, mature, grown-folks vibe to “Summer Nights In Harlem” as well as sweet sultriness to the accompanying “flip-side,” the ballad, “The Romance Of You”. It’s the sound Ms. Williams has been known for, dating back to her years when she was the first R&B singer signed to Russell Simmons’ Def Jam Records during the 1980’s.
“Producer Maurice Lynch was putting together a Harlem jazz review and was referred to me by a mutual friend,” says Alyson. “After we completed the show, he offered two songs for me to record – ‘Summer Nights In Harlem’ and ‘The Romance Of You’. I loved both tunes and offered to cut them with top notch veterans in the music industry – keyboardist Ray Chew (musical director for ABC-TV’s Dancing With The Stars), longtime sax man Kirk Whalum as well as Grammy Award winning bassist Christian McBride.”
Entrepreneur, philanthropist and radio host, are just a few of the hats renowned Harlem raised recording artist Alyson Williams wears. With a voice so hauntingly pure, Alyson is able to transport you to your very own utopia while effortlessly showcasing she really can do it all.
Growing up, Alyson was surrounded by and exposed to great music. Her father – celebrated Jazz trumpeter and bandleader, Bobby Booker – was a major influence in her life. It was at four years old, when Alyson first demonstrated her stage talents. With a strong passion for performing, Alyson was inspired to study dance under the supervision of Arthur Mitchell, founder of The Dance Theatre of Harlem. She also studied with Alvin Ailey and performed with numerous other dance companies with the determination to enhance her skills. After years of hard work and dedication to perfecting her craft, Alyson was granted a scholarship to Marymount Manhattan College. She later attended City University of New York, as a member of the Aaron Davis Center for the Performing Arts Program and studied under John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet.
While in college, Alyson joined the I.N.C.A. (Institute of New Cinema Artists) headed by Ruby Dee, Ozzie Davis and Cliff Frazier. Through I.N.C.A., Alyson was awarded an internship to work side by side with Benny Ashburn, manager of the world famous Commodores. Before she knew it, she was singing background in the studio with iconic artists such as Melba Moore, Evelyn Champagne King and Kurtis Blow. After a plethora of collaborations with Kurtis Blow, Alyson became the quintessential “hook girl” for the rap and hip hop genre. Alyson’s internship turned out to be life changing. In a short amount of time, her talent was recognized. Alyson became an in-demand studio session singer. She also became a featured member of the 80’s vocal group High Fashion on Capitol Records.
Following her path of success, Alyson instantly grabbed the attention of Def Jam Records CEO Russell Simmons and became the first female R&B artist to sign with the label. As a founding member of Def Jam, Alyson helped to further Russell’s vision. Fueled by excitement and passion, Alyson recorded two albums on Columbia/OBR (Original Black Records) and remained with the label when the company was acquired by Sony Music Entertainment. Her first album, “Raw”, spent an impressive 67 weeks on the Billboard charts, matched only by Madonna’s “Like A Prayer” and went gold in the UK. Altogether, the album produced four top 5 singles, one being the sultry hit, “Just Call My Name”. Her second album, self-titled Alyson Williams, featured songs produced by Al B. Sure and Babyface as well as featured many chart topping singles.
After finding success as a recording artist at such a young age, Alyson was inspired to return to her roots of theatre arts and dance and successfully performed in more than a dozen musical stage plays touring across the country. Aspiring to take her acting to the next level, Alyson pursued Broadway and starred in “Rollin on the TOBA,” “One Mo Time” and the “25th Anniversary Revival of the Wiz” directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner, George Faison. After landing several prestigious roles, Alyson’s comedic timing, characteristics and true talent once again did not go unnoticed. She soon landed a gig at the country’s most iconic comedy club, Caroline’s as well as the starring role of “Power Woman” in “Menopause the Musical.” Alyson has appeared in numerous musical revues and stage plays both on and off Broadway working with seasoned professionals such as, Lynn Whitfield, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Carl Payne, Hawthorne James, Clifton Powell, Melba Moore, Maurice Hines, Oba Babatunde, Kim Whitley, Eddie Levert and The Whispers. With every performance, Alyson is motivated to perfect her craft and become greater.
Never one to let grass grow under her feet, after leaving Def Jam, Alyson began to embrace her entrepreneurial side while still practicing her love for music. Alyson collaborated with award winning producer, Marcus Johnson and together they produced Alyson’s third solo album titled, “It’s About Time.” When it comes to entrepreneurship, Alyson is no stranger to confidently pursuing her dreams. With an innate business mindset and a heart of gold, Alyson launched her own production company, A.W.P. – A Woman’s Prerogative – which allows Alyson to write musical stage plays, books, television treatments, produce concert series and much more.
While music will always be Alyson’s deepest passion, she’s equally passionate in regards to encouraging community involvement and hosting. Annually, Alyson serves as mistress of ceremonies for the Aldeco Awards, the National R&B Music Society and Jazzmobile’s Great Jazz On The Great Hill in Central Park. Alyson’s hosting skills are well polished and have been sought out by Harry Belafonte, Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson – just to name a few.
When Alyson is not performing sold out shows, “Nuttin’ But The Blues”, “Old Friends”, “Divapalooza” and “The Alyson Williams Experience” – which have been featured at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, the Blue Note, Blues Alley, the Metropolitan Room, 54 Below, Red Rooster, Minton’s, the Iridium Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Coca-Cola Room and the Yokohama Tower – she taps into her philanthropic side. Inspired by the magnetic relationship she shared with her dear friend Dr. Angelou, Alyson is a mentor for children and young adults. She works in the public and charter school systems as well as offers vocal coaching and artist development for new and up & coming artists.
Blessed with an impeccable and soulful voice, Alyson is well respected by industry royalty and fans worldwide for her genuine heart, innovative mind, and honest lyrics. Her ambition and determination to create her own opportunities is precisely why she is successful, admired by many and is the next bankable brand. Love and light, peace and blessings, miracles and music all define the Alyson Williams experience.
Summer Nights In Harlem is available now on:
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