Akon promises to leave the US if McCain is president

The Grammy-winning producer and singer tells the Guardian he will leave the US and return to his native Senegal if the Republicans win the election in November

Akon, the Grammy-winning, multi-platinum-selling R&B star, has said that he will renounce his US citizenship and leave the country if John McCain wins next week's presidential election.

The singer, producer and songwriter, speaking to The Guardian during a promotional visit to Britain, was born in Senegal and plans to return to Africa should Barack Obama fail to become the United States' 44th President.

"If he [Obama] doesn't get into office, I'm gonna change my citizenship," he said. "I'm moving back to Africa. You can hold me to that. I'm afraid to live there if he [McCain] is President. The decisions he makes scare me: he's making selfish decisions, he's doing whatever it takes to get into office."

Akon cited the selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as McCain's running-mate as one of the decisions that gave him concern. "I don't think he's going to last eight years," he said, referring to McCain, "so she's definitely going to be president. Oh my goodness - that's scarier. And who would be her running mate? Joe the Plumber?

"I'm very afraid," he continued. "If the people don't see [that life in America will deteriorate under McCain], then that's a dangerous place to be for the next four years. I can't even envision how bad it's gonna be. I see it now - like, I'm driving down the highway, and I see cars parked with their emergency lights on because [people] can't afford to buy gas. You've got families walking, carrying infants to the next exit to take a taxi, because the taxi will get them home cheaper than the gas."

The singer, who is unable to vote in this election due to a previous felony conviction, does not have a track record of speaking out on politics; but as one of the highest-selling black artists in the US, his views may carry some weight.

"I really, really hope that Obama gets in," he said, "but I don't want to jinx him. It's too early to say, because I don't remember anybody voting for [George W] Bush's second term, and he still won."

· The full interview will appear in The Guardian's Film & Music section in November.


Angus Batey

The GuardianTramp

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