Akon criticised for crowdsurfing in bubble at Africa concert
US SINGER Akon has been criticised for crowdsurfing in a plastic bubble during a concert in Africa, a continent currently battling with the deadly Ebola virus.
The Smack That singer climbed inside the airtight blow-up during a performance in Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on Sunday (Sept 28) and rolled over the crowd, pushed along by the outstretched hands of 60,000 screaming concert-goers.
But his actions prompted claims from some media outlets that, rather than just being a creative way of performing closer to his fans, it was a cynical attempt to shield himself from the virus that is sweeping West Africa.
“The Ebola virus is no joke,” The Source website said. “And to avoid contracting it from anybody, when Akon left the stage to crowd surf with the people that were attending his concert, he did so in a huge plastic protective bubble.”
Forty-two people have died in DR Congo since the Ebola outbreak erupted in West Africa six months ago. The first reported case in DR Congo was on August 26.
It is the world’s worst outbreak of the virus, killing 3,338 people so far.
However, the five-time Grammy nominee has performed inside the stage prop on a number of previous occasions including in Perth, Australia, and Dubai, both in 2010. Neither of those countries were battling Ebola outbreaks at the time.
The 41-year-old of Senegalese decent has yet to respond to reports, but said during the event that “As Akon, I see myself as a child of Africa”.
Akon, who refers to Senegal as his “hometown” was born in St. Louis, Missouri, but frequently travels to Africa where his West African-styled vocals mixed with East Coast and Southern beats are hugely popular.
The performance was part of a larger free concert held by charity Peace One Day to help promote and support the United Nations’ International Day Of Peace.