Fela Anikulapo Kuti (15 October 1938 — 2 August 1997). 15 Years after, THE LEGEND LIVES ON.
Today marks 15 years since the death of Kuti, the Nigerian Afrobeat musician who became a global icon thanks to his unique sound, his wild lifestyle and his harsh criticism of his country’s corrupt military regimes.
He is far from forgotten, both here and in many places abroad, and his family has been working to further preserve Kuti’s legacy, including efforts to turn his last house into a museum — the reason his bedroom was left as is, Just recently, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West were seen leaving the Al Hirshfeld Theatre after enjoying a beautiful night of Fela!
“It’s gone beyond a Nigerian story,” his son Femi Kuti, also a musician, said recently before taking the stage at the family’s New Afrika Shrine club in Lagos. “It’s gone beyond an African story. It’s like jazz.”
Kuti’s legend has in some ways only grown since his death aged 58 in 1997 from an HIV-related illness, especially following a recent Broadway musical about his life that drew rave reviews.
His outsized personality and social activism made him a hero to many while he was still alive, and his funeral in the giant economic capital of Lagos drew massive crowds into the streets.