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What is Akon’s Real Name?

Famous RNB artist Akon has been famously secretive about his real name — except for one time.

Akon stands in front of a black background in a black suit.
Courtesy of Billboard

In the 2000s, Akon was one of the RNB artists who ruled over the decade. Boasting plenty of platinum songs and the Guinness World Record for the number-one-selling artist for master ringtones in the world, Akon was unmatched during his reign.

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With massive hits like “Smack That”, “I Wanna Love You” and “Lonely” it would be hard to have been of mature age during the era and not have heard the name, Akon. 

Despite his popularity, there is one thing that remained widely unknown about Akon and that was his real name. With a stage name as simple and well-known as Akon, it should come as no surprise his true name is quite lengthy.

What is Akon’s real name?

Although Akon rose to fame at the start of the 2000s, it wasn’t until 2009 that the RNB singer shared his full name publicly. This came during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where he explained to Ellen the origins of his name.

Akon’s full name is Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam. With 52 letters and 12 words, it’s no wonder the musician chose to roll with the much shorter stage name Akon.

The name comes from Akon’s Senegalese heritage. While he was born and raised in Missouri, he spent much of his childhood in the West African country of Senegal, even referring to it as his hometown.

While his stage name may be short, it is not common for traditional African names to be long. BBC explains that traditional African names often have unique and rich stories behind them. These stories often involve things like birth, emotions, faith, and ancestors. This means that someone’s name can give you a wealth of information about who they are. In many African cultures, longer names can actually be seen as more prestigious or meaningful.

Even though Akon’s full name might have a lot of significance to him and his family, he shared that it was the easier choice to use something shorter.

He explained: “Akon is a lot easier and it’s the middle name. No one ever uses their middle name you notice that? No one uses their middle name why do we have it? So I decided to use it.” 

So, there you have it. A short explanation for a really long name!