The 2016 edition of the annual Felabration concert begins today Monday, October 10, 2016 and it runs till Sunday, October 16, 2016 at the New Afrika Shrine, Ikeja, Lagos.
It has been like this for several years because this is a musician c*m activist who lived a life of exemplariness especially among Nigerians.
He represented the truth. He stood for the masses. And he fought many great battles, some of which meant he had to put his life on the line.
Since he breathed his last on August 2, 1997, Fela has continued to garner incredible following amongst the youths of the land and critics alike.
19 whole years after and his renown is still rock solid, something like a global monument. He is that relevant a figure.
Fela was a king, he still is. When you think of some of the finest musicians of all time, worldwide; you think of Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Maria Makeba and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, to name a few.
He was influential in his right. He made several attempts to run for presidency but met stiff oppositions. Regardless, he has remained a major figure in our culture as a people.
Fela was not the usual, he was far from it.
While abroad, he began developing his craft and then matured into a wizard of the art over the years. He became the core figure for Afrobeat and morphed his sounds with the tepid feel of Nigeria’s polity in the 1980s into the 1990s.
He was a genius with his art.
He represented a movement; a movement for truth, equality, empathy and selflessness. Fela was the truth. But in all his musicianship and activisim, he was imperfect.
He was a chronic consumer of the herb and he loved the company of women more than a dog could trot. Actually, he didn’t just fancy the company of these women but he took them in dozens and made them his lovers and wives.
He was that much a maverick.
He might be far away today, but his legacy remains. His values are still a major part of our popular culture and we see new age artistes paying homage to him time and again by sampling his sounds as well as mirroring their lives after him.
Fela was a magician, he was like no other around his era.
He believed in African gods and he was never afraid to show this in his music, on and off stage.
He left a visible impression in world music, his ethos helping shape generations.
Today, some Nigerian pop stars are some of the biggest in the genre around the world and they all directly or indirectly draw inspirations from the late 59-year-old icon.
Wizkid has a tattoo of him on his right arm, which says a lot seeing as the Ojuelegba crooner is on the cusp of reshaping the continent’s image musically.
Several other music stars pay homage to him one way or the other and it all comes down to their reverence of his craft, their regard for his persona and their overt believe in his political influence as a force that stood against authorities even when it was uncommon in this part of earth.
Fela is gone but in truth he is forever with us. We will forever celebrate him, his works and everything revolving around his political inclinations because he stood for the truth despite being an imperfect figure himself.