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Verizon Connects Customers to Raunchy Rapper

Verizon says it's going to “ignite your passions.” If you think that's just kinky advertising hype, you'd be wrong.


Parents whose kids use Verizon's wireless service need to check to see whether their youngsters' passions are being ignited by rapper Akon and his lewd lyrics.


Conservative commentators Laura Ingraham and Michelle Malkin took the lead in taking Verizon to task for contracting with Akon. His notoriety for naughtiness increased after a video of him having simulated sex on stage with a minor girl in Trinidad was posted on the Internet last month:

Akon is in trouble for “smacking that” with a teenage concertgoer in Trinidad recently. The hitmaker has come under fire for bumping and grinding with a fourteen-year-old preacher's daughter during a nightclub performance in Port of Spain. The young lady won a dance contest at the club and the prize was “a trip to Africa.” Well, it turns out that “Africa” was code for Akon and when she got on stage he proceeded to smack it, flip it, and rub it down. Akon neglected to ask for ID before he simulated sex acts on stage with the scantily clad teen. www.vibe.com/blog/vc/2007/04/akon_under_fire_for_dirty_danc_1.html

Even so, Verizon's John Harrobin, Vice President of Marketing and New Media, says Akon “has emerged as one of the world's most compelling and exciting stars. His commitment to his artistry and the community enables us to take our partnership with music industry innovators in yet another direction by collaborating on this unique TV advertising campaign.”


Verizon customers can purchase and download three songs and a ringtone from a list of 27 Akon selections. Customers can also choose one of Akon's raunchy raps as a “ringback tone” their friends will hear when they call.

http://getitnow.vzwshop.com/index.aspx?id=fnd_artist&artist=akon&toneType=3


Since Akon's sexcapade with a minor wasn't a disconnect for Verizon, Harrobin and company could probably care less that Akon's “community” includes three wives.


The Senegalese star made the revelation on American DJ Angie Martinez' radio show, but has now been banned from talking about his home life by his record label, who fear a backlash against him. Akon, 25, told Martinez, “I'm a polygamist. I can afford to have as many wives as I can afford to have. All Africans believe in it. My dad has four wives.” The rapper insisted that under the teachings of the Koran, which means Akon is Muslim, all wives must be treated equally - which Akon insists he does. But the Atlanta, Georgia-based star's confession has forced his label Universal to issue him with a gagging order. http://www.hollywoodgrind.com/?p=3679

 

Although Akon has preferred the good life of the United States to Senegal since age seven, he blames America for his self-imposed censorship about his polygamy: “Unfortunately, this is the world we live in, people do judge you by your beliefs and how you think. It's a free country, but it's really not free.”


It wasn't his beliefs and thoughts that got Akon three years in prison. “Locked Up,” his Top Ten single from 2004, which is available via Verizon, was “inspired” by the time he served in a Georgia state prison for grand theft auto.


If you don't think that promoting and profiting off of a misogynistic miscreant will “make the world better,” as Verizon claims in its “Code of Conduct,” you might give Verizon a ring. Contact information is available at: www.verizonwireless.com/b2c/contact/index.jsp.


If you think your complaint to Verizon won't make a difference, you'd be wrong again. Verizon has already edited its Web site promotion of Akon. A large photo of him and four songs identified as “explicit” Thursday afternoon were no longer posted Thursday evening.


It's also too late to see the video of the Trinidad incident.  The video, which was accompanied by an Akon soundtrack, is no longer posted on YouTube. Instead, a message reads: “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Universal Music Group.”

 

It doesn't get any more hypocritical than a recording company using federal law to stifle free speech critical of its lewd and lascivious rapper while wrapping the First Amendment around him.


At the time this article was posted, a 48 second video identified as Akon and the girl was still available at: http://www.hollywoodgrind.com/?p=5355.


Jan LaRue, Esq. is a member of CMI's Board of Advisers.