Akon defends past comments on wealth: ‘I was happier when I was poor’

The artist/entrepreneur says that he stands by his comments that he was much more content when he was struggling financially

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Akon caught some backlash recently after suggesting people living in poverty have much easier lives than the rich and famous. 

When TMZ caught up with the singer at LAX over the weekend, Akon addressed his controversial remarks.

“It’s not really more so a walk back, but what I do want to express is that sometimes when comments like that are made—I always speak according to what I’m personally going through myself,” Akon explained. “Nobody can sit there and tell me I didn’t go through poverty.”

3rd Annual Global Goals World Cup
Akon at the 3rd Annual Global Goals World Cup at the SAP Leonardo Centre on Sept. 25, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for UNDP)

The Grammy-winning artist continued, “I’m having more problems successfully dealing with all that comes with success than I had when I was poor. I was actually happier when I was poor.”

Akon’s initial comments were made following the death of actor Michael K. Williams in September. TMZ caught up with Akon at that time and asked about his sudden passing. That’s when he noted that rich people actually “struggle more” than poor people.

“You know, this business creates this, like, environment where everyone’s wearing a mask, no one tells you what’s really going on in your life, so real friends can’t even really advise you ’cause we don’t really know what’s happening,” he told TMZ.

“’Cause we put on this facade of success but yet behind the face there’s so much happening. The famous and the rich go through more issues than the poor. You know when they say ‘more money, more problems,’ that’s a real thing.”

Akon also faced backlash online after saying R. Kelly should be given a second chance amid his controversial legal woes for alleged sex crimes.

“I believe that God makes no mistakes. People can debate back and forth all day but if it’s happening to him, it’s supposed to happen to him, for whatever reason,” the artist and entrepreneur said during an interview with TMZ. “Now, that’s something that he has to have within himself to reevaluate his whole life, his way of being.”

Akon further elaborated, “because to get caught up in a situation like that, whatever happens, is between him and God.” 

He then said, “There is always a way to redeem yourself, but you have to first accept the fact that you’re wrong.”

He also stated that Kelly’s alleged victims have the right to not forgive him, but stressed that “unforgiveness only increases the pain.”

When asked his opinion about the cancel culture mob taking aim at R. Kelly, Akon said, “At the end of the day, you cannot deny his talent.” 

He continued, “He is one of the greatest R&B artists, writers, producers that came into this business. You can’t take that away from him now.”

“We’re not to be the ones to judge either because we weren’t there,” Akon said. “So, like I said, the only person that can help himself is him and what happened is between him, God and the victims.”

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