Akon spoke about the dangers of gun violence and made reference to his fallen protégé Dolla at a meeting with students in Poughkeepsie, New York, yesterday, the Poughkeepsie Journal reports. The event was part of Akon’s community service sentence that he received after throwing a fan off the stage at a 2007 concert, but it couldn’t come at a more prevalent time: Eleven days ago, Dolla, an Atlanta rapper who was signed to Akon’s Konvict Music label, was shot and killed outside a Los Angeles shopping mall.
“He was a great kid, he didn’t deserve it,” Akon said of the 21-year-old Dolla, who was in Los Angeles to work on his first album A Dolla & A Dream. “The reason he got shot was probably the most miscellaneous thing ever. It’s to a point now where we’re always trying to find ways to deal with our issues, deal with all these main challenges which is very hard, especially when we’re surrounded by an environment that don’t really have morals.” Akon, who has been accused of embellishing his own criminal past, also called the murder “a very senseless crime.”
A man named Aubrey Berry was arrested soon after Dolla’s murder and charged with two counts of assault with a firearm and one count of murder. Berry faces life in prison if convicted. As Rock Daily reported last week, Berry’s lawyer Howard K. Price claims his client acted in self-defense, stating, “If somebody has a reasonable perception that he is in danger of bodily injury or death, he has a right to defend himself.” Price added that his client thought Dolla was reaching for a handgun when Berry fired at the rapper. However, no other weapons were found at the crime scene.