The legendary afrobeat singer says the late Afrobeat pioneer wanted him to forfeit his education for music and become an ‘area boy’.
Femi says that Fela used him as a guinea pig to prove that formal education had no sway on being a success in life.
Speaking during an interview with The Net, Femi said,
“My father didn’t want me to study music because I was more of an experimental guinea pig to prove a point that you do not need education to be successful and he wanted to use me to prove to his brothers that the education he got was not what made him.
“So I was like a guinea pig which I really vehemently protested against but when I became successful and I complained again, my father said ‘are you famous? Are you not successful? Oya shut up.’
“But I was still very angry because I’m more of a street boy. I may speak well, it’s because I read a lot of books and I’m very well informed but my father wanted me to be more like an area boy.
“Back then if I got back from school and said I got ZERO in Mathematics, he’ll say that’s very good.
“I used to be among the bad boys in school that’ll jump the fence to go and watch Chinese movies at the cinema and if we get caught and my father hears about it, he’ll say ‘very good’.
“My father wanted me to be the head of the ‘most baddest boys’ in school (laughs).
“If I did well in my science subjects, he was very unimpressed but if I did bad things, he’ll be like ‘that’s my boy’ because that’s what he wanted and in the long run you could say he proved and made his point because I became successful."
In a way, Fela made a point as Femi who was once written off due to his wayward lifestyle, turned out to be a success in the end.
Femi adds, “I didn’t get the education and my mum, his brothers were all so scared that I’ll be a complete failure. Nigeria wrote me off, you can’t imagine how big my father was in those days and then his first son (me) had no school, no education, smoking igbo, doing all the bad things everyone else was running from.
“I was totally written off. Back then If a girl introduces me to her parents they’ll be the end of the relationship, even my marriage broke up because of such stigmas of being Fela’s son.
“So if you look at it well, I’m not supposed to be successful, but those that know my history know the significance because I was a failure,” he added.
Femi is the eldest of seven children born to Fela Kuti and has rebranded what the late legend stood for yet creating the same quality and genre of music.