A humorous, enlightening view of celebrities and celeb life in Nigeria from the mind of a sarcastic writer.
Today, Monday October 12, 2015 marks the first day of the week long festivities of Felabration 2015.
In case you don't know, Felabration is an annual celebration of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti's ideologies, philosophy and unique brand of music called Afrobeat. It lasts for seven days and takes place at The Afrika Shrine built by his son Femi Kuti who is very much a legend in his own right.
I haven't been to Felabration in the last five years, and I hope I make it to this year's festivities. Nothing like sweet Afrobeat music playing, Nigerian women twerking and a hazy cloud hovering above you. If you have not been to Felabration, you have not lived. It's the 'realest' idea of a music festival we have in Nigeria. And this year's edition promises to be great because the woman who turned him to pro-black beliefs Sandra Izsadore is also around.
My thoughts have been on the enigmatic Afrobeat creator within the past few days, and this has narrowed my thoughts about Fela to one question, "how would Fela have fared in 2015?" I am not saying how would a 77 year old musician fare today. What I mean is this, what are the odds of a young musician with a new genre of music fare in Nigeria of today? It's sad to say that the odds are slim.
I seriously doubt that Fela's brand of music would be accepted today in these times. First of all the Nigerian music industry is boring and predictable. If you are not singing pop music (or as we music heads like to call it tungba) you won't be relevant in this era.
Afrobeat (or Afrobeats) in 2015 has been tagged as the kind of music Wizkid, Ice Prince, Davido do. For Fela to be relevant in 2015, he would need to water down his content considerably and sing only about women and cars. Also he won't have been able to maintain such a large music band in this era of "DJ track 1." Yes there are some acts with bands but they are not half of Egypt 80 in size. Live performances don't blend well with the quickie shows we have in Nigeria.
In Fela's career he toured a lot, not only abroad but in Nigeria as well. How many Nigerian artistes go on tours? I am not talking about club tours that your favourite singer does. I am talking about touring the country. Fela would have been stuck in Lagos doing Industry Nite. That's the truth.
Also his usual style of criticizing of Nigerian leaders wouldn't have been trendy. Really, look at our music stars today. None of them sing conscious music. Truth be told in Fela's time, his contemporaries didn't sing conscious music but at least the public accepted his music a lot. Today's generation won't be so accepting. Our generation is individualistic and narcissist for Fela's music to make any kind of impact. It's hard to turn up to Zombie, or Water No Get Enemy I guess. Let's not forget we are also tribalistic. Don't let us deceive ourselves that we are better than our parents, we are not. The only difference is that we have not experienced a civil war. We tweet the same tribalistic and hateful sentiments they expressed back in their days.
Imagine Fela Kuti dissing Goodluck Jonathan, people from the South-South would have killed him on Twitter. If he lambasted Bola Tinubu, Jagaban's army would have murdered him online. We are worse than the generation before us. Fela would have been a struggling act.
Let's talk about Fela's love for women. Can you imagine what our Feminists on Twitter will say when Fela of 2015 gets married to 27 wives. Oh my...the tweets will be laced with enough venom and acid. Fela would have been called so many names such as chauvinistic, rapist, abuser, adulterer and the new one- Yoruba demon. As a matter of fact Fela would have no female fan base. Look at how 2face was slaughtered during his 'baby booming' days. Truth is 2face is far better than the musicians in the 70's. These veteran acts have so many kids, and no one abused them.
I think the only thing Fela would be able to do is smoke weed in peace. Our generation loves weed, it is our generation's recreational drug. At least Fela would be allowed to smoke some good herb. But that's that. Everything that made Fela tick in the 70's and 80's won't be accepted or tolerated in 2015, from his style of music, conscious content and rock and roll lifestyle.
How much have we really progressed as a society if we claim to be so individualistic but yet won't accept individuality? This is the era of mass thoughts and mass beliefs, where you have to be in line with the trending topic. Fela's music would have been relegated to the background. Online music critics would have bashed Fela before he even had the chance to fully develop Afrobeat. Individual expression isn't really tolerated in this day and age, and it's sad because individual expression is what allowed Fela blossom in his time.
You can argue with me by saying that Femi Kuti is thriving. Yes he is, but not in Nigeria. Femi Kuti is huge and more appreciated abroad. How many big shows in Nigeria does he perform at? The answer speaks for itself.
Where has individual expression gone? Having a mind of your own is no longer cool. You need to be in team this or team that. Every chick wants a nose ring.
Would Fela have made it in 2015? No. He would have been a struggling act sharing his CD at Shop Rite.
P.S What's up with the traffic in Lagos these days?
Watch Pulse TV video below for more scoop on Fela.