Throwback: Black History Month: Fela Kuti

Today is the 25th day of Black History Month. Over the course of the month, I’ll spend some time paying tribute to Black artists across a wide and diverse array of genres and styles. My hope is that these posts should serve as an important reminder that the Black experience is the American experience, that Black culture is American culture — and importantly, Black lives and Black art matter. You can’t love Black art and Black artists without giving a shit about Black people. 

This month won’t be a comprehensive study of Black music. It’ll be more idiosyncratic because — well, JOVM after all. Now, if you’ve been following this site, you may recall that so far I’ve paid tribute to:

I need to take a moment to pay tribute to the legendary godfather of Afrobeat, Fela Kuti. We tragically lost Fela 24 years ago from AIDS but in the time since his death, his influence on contemporary global music has grown exponential with an increasing number of bands across the world, creating their own culturally specific take on the genre — and sound — he created over 50 years ago.

His music was boldly, defiantly pro-Black, pan African. But he wasn’t without controversy or wildly contradictory: his views on women, would offend and infuriate roughly 98.5% of modern women. He was a conflicting and flawed man of his times. But man his music slaps.

And from the live footage, you’ll see that he was a dynamic and electric stage presence.