Akon’s real name is a bit longer than his stage name. In fact, his real name is 52 letters long.
Akon is one part of his real name: Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam. Akon is Senegalese-American, and he was given 12 names at birth.
He is best known for his 2004 hit, “Locked Up.” Since then, he has continued releasing albums, founded two successful record labels, and received three Grammy nominations. Akon is 46 years old. He is from St. Louis, Missouri.
Here’s what you need to know:
Akon First Revealed His Real Name on The Ellen Show in 2009
Akon first revealed his lengthy given name on The Ellen Show with Ellen DeGeneres in 2009.
“Alright, Akon, I tried to – I read your real name this morning,” she says on the show. “Can you please tell people your full name?”
“You sure?” he asks.
“Yeah,” she answers. “I think we have time for it.”
“Really?” he says and laughs. “Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam.”
“We have no way of knowing if you’re right,” she said.
“If anybody out there can repeat it, I’ll give you $1,000 right now,” he said.
No one made an attempt.
“Well you did it too fast,” she said. “It’s like an entire line of a page. It’s that many names. How many names is it? 10? 12?”
He responded that it is 12 names.
“And why so many names?” she asks.
“Well in certain parts of Africa there are traditions,” he said. “The first – no. The second son of the first son of – something like that,” he said.
“You don’t know,” DeGeneres teased.
“So Akon is easier,” she said.
“A lot easier,” Akon answered. “And it’s the middle name. No one ever uses their middle name. You noticed that? No one uses their middle name. Why do we have it?”
“It’s a wasted name,” DeGeneres said.
“So I decided to use it,” he said.
“Good for you,” she answered. “But you should change it up every year. You’ve got so many hit songs, you could use a different name for a different song.”
Akon Was Born in Missouri, But Spent Much of his Childhood in Senegal
Akon was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, but he holds close to his Senegalese roots. He spent much of his childhood in Senegal, and considers it his hometown, according to CBS News.
“Akon, the R&B singer known for hits like ‘Smack That’ and ‘I Wanna Love You,’ is a Muslim, whose full name is Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam,” CBS News reported in a piece on famous Muslim celebrities. “Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Akon considers the West African country of Senegal his hometown because he spent much of his childhood there.”
Akon is a Muslim, and was born to Muslim parents. He spoke at a concert in in Morocco in June, 2015 about Islam and music, and said he does not think his music can be considered sacrilegious because music is a critical part of Islam.
CBS News reported: “In June 2015, ahead of a performance in Morocco, he spoke with The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi about his career and his faith: ‘I was born a Muslim… and there has always been a debate about Islam and music. I never looked at the performing aspect of the music itself, but on the intention. Even if you look at the daily prayers in Islam, we pray in melody. When we hear the call to prayer in any part of the world, it is also done with melody. So, no one can tell me that music is haram.’