parody by nacrowe
a little less than a year ago i did a radio show (linked HERE) on the global cultural impact of the legendary NIGERIAN AFROBEAT composer/musician FELA KUTI, easily one of the most consequential artists i have come across during my lifetime. i have written and spoke at length about my middle school years living in NIGERIA in the mid 90s on this blog, even wrote a review (linked HERE) of a recently published english translation of a french book consisting of interviews with him and his many wives.
to sum up his legacy, he was a singular artist that sought to bolster AFRICAN identity in a post-colonialist context where native customs were beginning to self-define as primitive and anti-modern. his music and art pierced that bullshit right between the eyes and gave his people a dignity and cultural awareness that has only flourished since his passing. you can hear such now in his sons FEMI and SEUN and the work of LAGBAJA and his peers like TONY ALLEN (formerly of his backing band the EGYPT 80) and KING SUNNY ADE among many many others.
for years i have shared his music with friends and students in other places i lived and taught including JAPAN, VENEZUELA, ALBANIA and MYANMAR. especially in countries struggling to find their own voice in a world that requires you to act, speak and look a certain way (usually in a euro-centric mold), his example was my way of letting my students know that you could be yourself and embrace your local community, whether or not such is valued by the broader global marketplace of ideas and culture.
they'll come around. they did with FELA.