Challenging the African Press to be more responsible and to redefine the image of the continent, popular singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, actor and founder of two successful record labels, Konvict Muzik and KonLive Distribution with several awards on his name, Aliaune Damala Badara Thiam popularly known by his stage name Akon told the gathering of African Youths at the YouthConnekt Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda that “it is the responsibility of African medias to redefine the image of Africa”
YouthConnekt Africa is designed to realize Africa’s demographic dividend by combining elements of skills development, entrepreneurship, access to jobs and finance, awareness-raising on issues related to youth development, and promotion of youth citizenship and leadership.
Below is his speech!
“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, [and] it is the land of the free, land of the brave”
I go there to find and to chase my dreams…
We have to be able to tell our own stories, directors, filmmakers, entertainers, it is going to be clearly… and the press, it is going to be your job to redefine how people think about Africa.
… Because you are here; you see what is going on, you can clearly see the very picture. You know and see the good, the bad and the ugly. It is what you put there that the world is going to get. I can clearly tell you right now in Chicago alone, there are more people dying in Chicago than there was a war in Iraq.
There is a lot of things happening in the US which you are not going to see because they chose to show you what they want you to see”
It is about countries integrity, there is a certain amount of reputation you have to keep, and no one puts their family business out in the street”
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.
So, 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.
The image they showing of Africa are historical images, this is way before civilization when we were still battling with spears like times of Shaka Zulu but look at the US, they show you, superman, batman.. Where is our superman, I mean Shaka Zulu should be a superhero today”. So, we have to tell our own stories… I mean, even Jesus is white but you believed it…!”