It’s been twenty years since legendary Nigerian musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti passed on but that his music and the powerful messages that they carry remain relevant cannot be overstated. Fela was and unarguably still is the face of a political and cultural revolution in Nigeria and the pointed lyrics in his songs still retain the power to pierce hearts.
From his brazen condemnation of Nigeria’s hypocritical political and religious leaders to reiterating the sufferings that beset ordinary Nigerians to his attempts to open our eyes to the ills of colonialism and even his warning against skin whitening, Fela was the teacher, prophet, father, guru and guide all wrapped in one.
Two solid decades post-Fela, music in these parts has evolved but no single artiste has come close to making music that can compete with Fela’s not in terms of rhythm or sound but in terms of depth and soul. Maybe our current crop of artistes do not set out to change the state of the nation or challenge the status quo but make money, minimal impact and quit.
YNaija Insiders spoke on the possibilities of any Nigerian artiste filling the vacuum Fela left in the music industry.
This artiste manager was of the opinion that it is pointless trying to fill a vacuum that hardly exists in the first place. He said “Fela created something iconic and I think he has finished his work. What the new set of artistes can only do is continue from his finish line in their own little ways. To be frank, we’ve seen some of them make music that have created political awareness, although not as impactful as the late Abami Eda. We’ve seen 2face Idibia, Eedris Abdulkareem, African China etc, we’ve seen also how Fela’s family have handled Felabration these past years and I think that is enough. So I do not agree that there is a vacuum, his death did not create one, rather it kicked off a revolution. No artiste can replace Fela. Fela is Fela.”
Another Insider who is a culture editor said “It would be almost unfair to place that responsibility on this new set of artistes as their shoulders are not strong enough to bear it. Fela was one of a kind, it’s not a mistake that he is called Abami Eda so his mission was sort of divine. We may not be able to say the same for these current artistes. Let’s think of it like this: If Fela’s shoes were easy to step into, why haven’t we seen his sons, Femi and Seun make music that will drive the Nigerian government crazy like their father’s did. So Fela was in a class of his own. Musicians of today can only try but they would never be the man that Fela was“.
This entertainment writer was straight to the point, “This generation of artistes are foolish. They are all about money, diss and petty fights about who is local or international so there is no way for them to create the movement that Fela did. Only 2face comes close but we saw how he chickened out of the protest he started months ago. ”
These are the members of YNaija’s Pop Culture Insiders, not all of whom participated in this week’s survey:
Bizzle Osikoya (Bee Entertainment), Jim Donnett (TooXclusive), Ehiz (MTVBase), Timini Egbuson (Actor), Bayo Omisore (Platonique PR), Jide Taiwo (NET), Ayodeji Rotinwa (ThisDay), Edwin Okolo, Sensei Uche (City FM), Joey Akan (PulseNG), Timilehin Bello (Media Panache), Edward Israel (Chocolate City), Uche Briggs, Oreoluwa Peters (Doble Seis Entertainment), Ubi Franklin (TripleMG), Eromo Egbejule (The Guardian), Freeze (Cool FM), Godwin Tom (Godwin Tom Company), Asa Asika, Dotun Kayode (Cool FM), Femisoro Ajayi (BahdGuys Entertainment), Lekan Olanrewaju (Mnet), Latasha Ngwube (AboutThatCurvyLife), Funke Babs-Kufeji (ThisDay), Isioma Osaje (Agency 106), Jola Sotubo (PulseNG), Tosyn Bucknor (Top Radio), Tosin Ajibade (Olorisupergal), Ifeoma Areh (WildFlowerPR), Foladele Falana (TV Continental)
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