Akon is facing backlash for comments made in the wake of his friend Michael K. Williams’ death.
While mourning “The Wire” star, who was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment on Monday, Akon reflected on their close friendship. “He was actually a really good friend, amazing person, super funny, super talented,” the “I Wanna Love You” singer told TMZ. “It’s definitely a sad day for everybody.”
Akon also sympathized with the rich, saying they experience more hardships than the poor. “There’s just too many of us going down like that and I think when moments like this happen we all gotta reflect, ’cause we’re all going through things in our lives…and making decisions that actually affect not only us and our life but everyone that surrounds and looks up to us,” he continued. “The famous and the rich go through more issues than the poor. You know when they say ‘More money, more problems,’ that’s a real thing.”
However, many on social media were quick to call him out for his tone-deaf comments.
“Akon just proved that celebrities really do live in their own little world,” wrote one Twitter user, while another added, “Akon has been privileged too long.”
How Black Twitter is doing Akon after he said that rich people struggle more than poor people pic.twitter.com/bY3ageaDDZ
— Rich (@UptownDC_Rich) September 8, 2021
— Nickk w. 2 k’s (@334nickk) September 8, 2021
Akon just proved that celebrities really do live in their own little world .. pic.twitter.com/fMCRkIgjhB
— virgo szn 9/5 (@xoraveen) September 8, 2021
Me talking Akon his 1st day of switching places with a broke person pic.twitter.com/gXeVwAu06Y
— HushYaMouth63 (@ya_hush) September 8, 2021
Akon, who hadn’t seen Williams since the COVID-19 pandemic began, believes that celebrities have a hard time sharing their struggles with mental health and addiction because they are in the spotlight.
“You know, this business creates this, like, environment where everyone’s wearing a mask, no one tells you what’s really going on in your life, so real friends can’t even really advise you ’cause we don’t really know what’s happening ’cause we put on this facade of success but yet behind the face there’s so much happening,” he said.
He also urged others to check in on their friends. “So we gotta check up on each other, man, make sure everybody’s sound, you know, state of mind is intact, family’s good, and figure it out,” he said. “Just reach out and check on each other, man, ’cause we never really know what we’re going through.”
Williams, 54, is suspected to have died from a drug overdose. Following the tragedy, 50 Cent made light of the “Lovecraft Country” actor’s struggles while taking the opportunity to promote his own TV show and liquor brands.