As Femi Kuti hits 54, he is still very much the vibrant and quiet musician who made a name for himself outside of his father's legacy.
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Later on during the festivity I saw Femi Kuti a.k.a Shoki himself toss someone who had flouted one of the rules of the Afrikan Shrine out of the building. Femi Kuti in both instances sums up his personality- a gentle person who isn’t scared to unleash his more aggressive side when called for. That night ended perfectly for me, I managed to take a picture with him.
I have been to the Afrikan Shrine many times after that and I am always struck by Femi Kuti’s easy going nature. Now I have met a lot of celebrities in my lifetime and many who haven’t accomplished half of what Femi Kuti has achieved walk around like they walk on water.
However when Femi gets on stage he is a different animal. He is highly animated, and energetic. His quiet nature and shyness disappears when he is performing one of his numerous hit songs.
Femi Kuti gets his dual personality from his iconic father Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and his mother Remilekun Taylor. We all know Fela- the Rock god who was larger than life who defied several military regimes. Remilekun Taylor though not as vocal as Fela was strong but on the reserved side maybe due to her British upbringing.
Is this the delicate mix that has made Femi Kuti. Who is Femi Kuti? Beyond being the son of an enigma, Femi Kuti has emerged from the shadows of his father and is now a legend in his own right. Today he is the leading Afrobeat act in the world with four Grammy nominations.
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It’s quite astonishing to see Femi Kuti still relevant till today. This is because of the way he has adapted to social media and the new generation of singers. Femi Kuti handles his own Twitter account and interacts with his fans adding his style of humour. His Instagram account is very active and Afrikan Shrine has its Instagram page.
Femi Kuti has openly embraced the new school of pop acts such as Wizkid who he collaborated with on the song ‘Jaiye Jaiye’. Even though some die-hard fans of Afrobeat have criticized Femi Kuti for working with young artistes saying Fela would have never done such, Femi quickly made it known that he is not his father.
Another attribute of Femi Kuti that makes me really fond of him is his honesty. I have been in Femi Kuti interviews and I marvel at how open he is. There is nothing he won’t say. He rarely censors himself. His interviews are goldmines. He is one of the few male celebrities in Nigeria that can boldly tell you that he cannot be in a monogamous relationship.
A day after his 54th birthday Femi Kuti is still energetic as ever. He is about to go on a lengthy US tour. When he gets back it would be time for Felabration where I will see him gently walking about and blowing his saxophone with so much power.