Akon rules the charts now with his Pop&B confections, but back in the day, he had his high school peers believing he was an actual African ruler soaking up some culture stateside.
"I think I was a young hustler at that time. I told everybody, 'I'm a prince!' " the Senegalese-American singer remembered on the latest episode of "When I Was 17," which premiered Saturday. "I would play off that, because when [the 1988 movie] 'Coming to America' came out years ago, it felt like that was the thing to do."
His brother Bu added 'Kon was pretty persuasive as a pretend royal: "He had all the girls thinking he had all this money."
"That was my thing in high school. [People would say], 'Yeah, he a prince; you know he a prince, right?' Like 'Yeah, I'm a prince, see?' " 'Kon said, flashing a wide grin. "That was fun!"
As a teen, Kerry Washington was practicing her powers of persuasion on her fellow high-schoolers as well. However, she wasn't convincing people they needed to bow at her feet; instead she was schooling kids on how to stay safe.
"So when I was 17, I was teaching other people how to put condoms on ... bananas," Washington remembered, who spent her teen years a member of a theater company that staged educational performances at schools and community centers.
"Anytime anyone needed to know how to put a condom on, she would just pull out a banana and a condom and do a demonstration for us," Washington's pal Allison added. "She was a sex-pert."
Washington eventually earned a reputation as an eager teacher.
"I was kind of known, amongst my friends, as 'the condom lady,' " Washington said. "Because of my job, I always had condoms and dental dams and pamphlets."
A memorable teen moment for NBC "Community" star Donald Glover also involved condoms, but the only lesson he learned was not to let his dad meet his dates.
"I did go to my prom when I was 17. I asked this girl out that I really liked, and it was more like she was taking me, because I didn't have a car," Glover recalled. "She came and picked me up in her car. We're about to go, and my dad grabs me, and he pulls out a condom and puts it in my pocket — in front of her."
Dad's presumptuous prophylactic pass completely ruined the mood.
"We got in the car, and you might as well have had an elephant in the backseat 'cause it was like this big thing unspoken," Glover remembers. "Then I was like, 'We're not gonna...,' she's like, 'No, we're not.'
"I was like... 'Why do I even have this?' "
"When I Was 17" airs Saturdays at 11 a.m. on MTV