When Fela Kuti moved back to Nigeria from England to start his music career, he would never have imagined that his art would have such a global reach or impact that it has today. Fela Kuti, the King of Afrobeat, created the genre that has been making waves worldwide. His influence spreads far & wide, from Grammy-nominated Burna Boy to American legends like Jay-Z and Nas and UK acts like Skepta. He has inspired a whole generation with his work. Fela is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of all time, and he’s currently in the lead as the fans vote for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; a list that is filled with other iconic acts like Tina Turner, the Foo Fighters and Mary J. Blige. Voting ends on April 30, and last month we shared instructions on how to vote.
Fela’s music and his legacy was extremely important to him. He didn’t just create music that made people dance, his music made people think as well. He often got political, calling out the people in power for their mismanagement, corruption, stealing, and more. The way he conveyed his emotions mixed with catchy beats was special. It’s fascinating how he possessed the ability to make people feel connected to his music through dance and emotions. The connection to the music is so strong that even 24 years after his death people still listen to his work; the music lives on.
The music lives on through more than just his own work; some of his children have played their part in keeping Fela’s legacy alive. Femi, Fela’s oldest son, is the most prominent child. As a child, he would hit the stage with Fela and his band to perform for the crowd at the Old Afrika Shrine. At 58 years old, he has over 10 albums to his name and has been nominated for 4 Grammy awards in an 11-year span between 2003 and 2014. Femi shared Fela’s zeal for activism as he never shied away from speaking about political issues, corruption, poor living standards, and speaking up for people or being regarded as the voice of the people.
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.