Ahead of the 2016 BET Awards to be held in the USA on Tuesday 28 June, Senegalese-American star Akon has been named recipient of the Global Good Award in recognition of his humanitarian work.
The Global Good Award is presented as a part of the BET Awards. It recognises the work of individuals championing endeavours which positively impact change and heighten awareness in different parts of the world.
The ‘Pot of Gold’ singer is the second individual to receive the honour, after former beauty queen Millen Magese of Tanzania received the inaugural prize in 2015. Akon thus becomes the first ever pop act to receive the award. While Magese was honoured for her efforts at raising awareness of the disease endometriosis, Akon’s own honour is for providing solar power to rural villages.
Akon’s humanitarian project started with the establishment of the Konfidence Foundation in 2007. which was created to provide the youth of Senegal with educational resources and access to healthcare services. Seven years later, Akon and partners established the Akon Lighting Africa project, which has reportedly brought solar-powered electricity to the homes of over 600 million people in more than 11 countries in rural Africa. Akon also helped launch a Solar Academy in Bamako, Mali, where engineers will be taught how to develop solar power. He has expanded his impact beyond Africa by teaming up with government officials in several Latin American countries, including Brazil, to bring electricity to needy homes.
It is for these contributions that the second Global Good Award goes to Akon, who is a Grammy and BET Award nominee, a multi-platinum-selling artist, producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Though born in the US, Akon has been involved in the music industry of Africa. He has visited Nigeria and has been seen with the country’s stars and worked with the likes P-Square, Wizkid and Banky W. Last year, he was part of the Airtel Trace Music Star show and recently featured on the song by 2015 winner Mayunga Andrew from Tanzania.
Akon will be receiving the the Global Good Award at the 2016 BET Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The award will be co-presented to him the Nigerian-American singer Jidenna and the American model Eva Marcille. The show is hosted by comedian Anthony Anderson and actress Tracee Ellis Ross. Along with performances by American acts Usher and Alicia Keys, eight African acts are up for international awards. Two more African artists are up for the Viewer’s Choice Award.