US rapper Akon becomes owner of his Senegalese city namesake

Akon is best known for his rhythm and blues hits such as “Locked Up” and “Smack That.” (AFP)
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Updated 15 January 2020

US rapper Akon becomes owner of his Senegalese city namesake

  • The rapper named the city “Akon City”
  • Last week, government officials announced that Akon had pledged to invest in tourism in his native Senegal

DUBAI: American singer and songwriter Akon has become the official owner of an African city named after him.

“Just finalized the agreement for Akon City in Senegal. Looking forward to hosting you there in the future,” the star wrote to his 6.6 million Instagram followers.

Last week, government officials announced that the 46-year-old artist had pledged to invest in tourism in his native Senegal.

Best known for his rhythm and blues hits such as “Locked Up” and “Smack That,” the singer signed a deal with the west African nation’s state-owned tourism company SAPCO.

Alioune Ndiaye, SAPCO’s secretary-general, told AFP that the deal was a memorandum of understanding, so the size of the future investment was still unclear.

However, the tourism official pointed out that Akon planned to build a complex in the seaside village of Mbodiene, which is around 120 km south of the capital Dakar.

The rapper, whose real name is Aliaune Badara Thiam, spent his early childhood in Senegal but moved to the US at the age of seven, where he later rose to superstardom.


A day at the races: Stylish guests wow at the Saudi Cup

Entrepreneur and influencer Pierette Yammine showed off a regal, ice blue number by Dubai-based label Baruni Fashion. (Huda Bashatah/Arab News)
Updated 6 min 57 sec ago

A day at the races: Stylish guests wow at the Saudi Cup

RIYADH: All eyes were on Saudi Arabia as the world’s most valuable horse race kicked off over the weekend — and there was something for everyone, including fashion fans.

Style-lovers descended on the Saudi Cup in Riyadh wearing their race day best, with women giving Audrey Hepburn’s character in Hollywood classic “My Fair Lady” a run for her money with their chic abayas and colorful dresses.

Stylish racing gear was on full display in the form of an array of creative headpieces flaunted by some women in the Red Sea Pavilion.

Arab News caught up with Evelyn McDermott, founder of the Evelyn McDermott Millinery, which was the exclusive milliner for the Saudi Cup and had a dedicated booth for those who wanted to pick up a last-minute headpiece.

“My brand is a Dubai-born brand and I’ve been making the hats for about seven to eight years now, she said, before adding, “it’s been the most phenomenal thing ever to be invited here to Saudi Arabia (and) to be the exclusive milliner to the Saudi Cup has just been so wonderful. I mean the first ever Saudi Cup makes it an experience that can never be repeated so it’s been fantastic.”

For her part, McDermott capitalized on one of the style trends of the day — wearing green.

The designer donned a jade green jumpsuit with dramatic tulip sleeves in translucent chiffon and finished off her out-there outfit with a matching head wrap — a fresh take on typical race day headpieces and the feathered looks preferred by many other women at the event.

Green seemed to be a popular color, with many style conscious race goers donning various shades of the hue.

Michele Fischer, who flew into the Kingdom from the US, showed off an embroidered blue abaya, complete with tribal designs in white threadwork. Underneath, she boasted a fern green cocktail dress by Ralph Lauren and topped off the look with an ash-and-ebony feathered headpiece by Australian milliner Sonlia Fashion.

Fischer told Arab News she handpicked the dark green dress in order to pay tribute to Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, entrepreneur and influencer Pierette Yammine showed off a regal, ice blue number by Dubai-based label Baruni Fashion, which is helmed by former petroleum engineer-turned-designer Fadwa Baruni.

Yammine accessorized the floor-grazing gown, with it’s textured cuffed sleeves and sash at the waist, with a demure white Longines watch and an attention-grabbing caramel-colored floral headpiece with wispy filaments that played in the breeze.

Attendee Liz Price followed suit and opted for a gorgeous, crinkled headpiece that resembled piled up gardenias atop her sleek hairdo. The cream-colored piece was designed by London-based milliner Rachel Trevor Morgan, whose hats are favored by Queen Elizabeth II.