I Would Not Be Who I Am Today Without Akon And The Thiam Family
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I Would Not Be Who I Am Today Without Akon And The Thiam Family

Because of them, my life has changed forever.

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I Would Not Be Who I Am Today Without Akon And The Thiam Family
Makenna Cross

Not many people can call the singer-songwriter behind the 2004 hit "Locked Up" their boss, but somehow, over the summer, I managed to do that. Before this year, if anyone had told me that I would meet Akon, I would have laughed in their face. If they told me that I would be working for him, I would have laughed even harder. But the fact that this is now my reality still baffles me.

This all started in Cannes, France. My study abroad group and I were attending the Cannes Lions Festival for Creativity (Basically the Oscars for Communications) and Akon was there and spoke about his organizations, Akon Lighting Africa and Akoin, and how he is helping Africa gain access to electricity and creating a cryptocurrency for young African entrepreneurs. It was absolutely amazing to see how a successful artist like him was humble enough to help his home country. After his session, everyone gathered around to take pictures with him, and I saw this as an opportunity to show Akon how much he inspired me in his 90-minute lecture.

As I took my picture, I told him how much of an inspiration he was to me, and jokingly asked if I could talk with him about an internship. To my surprise, he told me he was always looking for ways to better the youth and took me over to his manager to further discuss an internship position. At this point, my pants were soiled (not really, but you get the point) and I asked myself "what now?" I haven't thought my plan through that far. Somehow, during the hour and a half conversation I had with Akon and his manager, I received their contact information and they told me that they would get back with me soon. Sometimes that is usually bad news when people say that, but I never gave up hope and kept them updated with follow-ups, and they finally contacted me back, and set me up with an internship in their PR department ran by Akon's sister (I'm telling you guys, dreams do come true).

I never understood how I ended up in this situation. Me, a 21-year-old, shy, introvert, working for a MILLIONAIRE celebrity who's basically a real-life Black Panther building his own Wakanda. It's extremely intimidating, let me tell ya! The entire Thiam family are superstars in their own ways: Akon is just, you know, Akon, his brother, Abou "Bu," is a big-time music executive and his sister, Khady, (who I mainly work with) is the CEO of her own consulting firm, as well as COO of KonLive, and Chief Brand Officer for Bu Vision Entertainment. See, the family is a powerhouse!!! It's nerve-wracking to be working for such an influential family!

When I first started working with this family, I had very low confidence, I second-guessed every little thing I did and never spoke up in conferences. But now that I've worked with them for almost four months, I see my confidence improving, I'm trusting my work a lot more and I'm contributing more to our conferences. They are such an amazing, humble family who just wants to help others like me succeed. So, Akon, Khady, Bu, thank you for seeing the potential in me I didn't even know I had and thank you for giving me a chance to succeed in an industry I never thought would be possible.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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