Senegalese-American pop&B star Akon was very proud of his African heritage growing up and didn’t hesitate to play up his exotic background to pals. On the latest episode of “When I Was 17” — which also features Kerry Washington and Donald Glover — the singer remembers his cross-cultural style, which paired traditional African garb with American streetwear.
“When I was 17, I thought I was the flyest thing on the planet,” Akon says in the episode, which premieres Saturday at 11 a.m. “Of course, I still had my African roots so I would wear dashikis that kinda matched my jeans.”
“Dashikis and the Air Jordans — that was Akon’s style,” ‘Kon’s brother Omar chimes in.
Akon may have schooled his American friends on international style with his look, but the soon-to-be-star took things a step further, hoodwinking friends into believing he was royalty from a far-flung locale.
“I think I was a young hustler at that time. I told everybody, ‘I’m a prince!’ ” Akon remembers.
“People just didn’t know any better so they believed that we were princes from Africa,” Omar adds.
The singer took a page directly from the classic ’80s Eddie Murphy/ Arsenio Hall comedy about a prince trying to find his way in the U.S.
“I would play off that, because when ‘Coming to America’ came out years ago, it felt like that was the thing to do,” said Akon, who was 17 in the late ’90s.
“He had all the girls thinking he had all this money,” his brother Bu adds.