In an interview with TMZ on Monday (Sept. 26), the artist, legally known as Aliaune Damala Badara Akon Thiam, 49, spoke to the outlet in depth about the planned music universities that were derailed after MJ died.
“It started as a concept,” Akon expressed. “Me and Mike were talking about creating music universities throughout Africa. Giving them the tools, instruments, and knowledge of the business and helping them with facilities that help them polish up their skills — because Africa has so much talent.”
Thiam continues, explaining how working and brainstorming with Jackson about this project led him to travel to Nigeria around the same time.
“This is one of the main motivations when I went into Nigeria back then, the whole start and support all those young artists for afrobeat and things like this.”
The singer then elaborated on the current status of the planned schools and the complexities of the King of Pop’s legacy and character.
“The schools haven’t happened yet, it was just a conversation that we had but it’s something I do want to follow-up on.”
“If people knew who he really was and understood the story behind it, that wouldn’t be a legacy question, like you know what Mike did for the culture,” Akon expressed. “It shouldn’t even be a thought, but ultimately the powers that be in America work a little different when it comes to Black and brown people.“
Elsewhere, Michael Jackson is still proving he is the one true King of Pop as his discography continues to make history. “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” from the album of the same name were certified Diamond by the RIAA on August 29, 2022.
MJ’s estate also took the time to announce that they would be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Thriller with an album reissue, including a bonus CD featuring demos and brand new tracks.
Fans can expect Thriller: 40th anniversary to arrive in November 2022.
Watch the TMZ interview below.