Femi Kuti Meets Fela Anikulapo-Kuti On Broadway In New York

Last week was an electric one in "Fela!" the broadway show fashioned after the legendary Fela Anikulapo as his first son, Femi Kuti, showed up at the Eugene O’Neal Theatre on 49th Street with his band to watch the highly rated show.

Femi had performed at the Lincoln Center to an equally ecstatic New York crowd the previous day with unparalleled energy in a show filled with fulminations about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and an unusually long "sex education" lecture dotting his "Beng Beng" track rendition.

It was an emotional Femi who, during the intermission told SaharaReporters the show brought his father’s memories back. He told us he felt emotional because he was always around the afrobeat king when the Nigerian authorities harassed, beat and jailed him several times. He booed African leaders who oppress their people.

He also addressed the reason why he changed his mind and came to see the show after telling the New York Times in Philadelphia that he was boycotting the show until it comes to Lagos, Nigeria. He said the show’s producer; Steve Hendel, has assured him that he would make its Nigerian debut before the end on 2010.

The encounter with Femi wasn’t without some drama as he got upset with Saharareporters when we asked him why he didn’t seem to take the kind of political risks his famous father took in confronting the Nigerian authorities. It was apparent that the question was Femi’s achilles' heel. He lambasted our reporter for expressing such an opinion, reeling off his achievements as a political fighter of note.

Femi later joined the show's cast for a few minutes for a memorable performance of Fela’s “I No Be Gentle Man”. The crowd went ballistic while Femi and some of the cast wept profusely.

"Fela on Broadway" is New York's most exciting broadway show, but art imitated life last month when the Tony Awards denied it the top awards due to it and instead gave them to a feel–good American broadway show named ‘Memphis’.  It brought back to mind Fela's life when Nigerian authorities frequently denied Fela his liberty and freedom of expression.  In addition, he experienced incarceration and exile, and his "shrine" was burnt down once. 


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Arrogant clown! He has just exhibited the difference between him and Seun [his younger brother]. A simple question and he messed up. He was trying to act FELA but he failed woefully! Femi to the Anikulapo-Kuti is like what Kola is to the late MKO Abiola Family!

I love the great Fela, he is my only hero, however great men are not often known to spurn great heirs.

Femi has just exhibited some those things that are wrong with Nigeria and Nigerians; Ignorance, Lack of Civility and Primitive Arrogance. Ironically, these are some of the things Baba preached against.

These attitudes have also been displayed in the recent past by the likes of Wole “Saharareporters should consult with me first before publishing” Soyinka and Ojo “who is in charge here” Maduekwe.

@[b]Ramses Osiris[/b],
Finally, you have been outed. Your Black-consciousness and and deep Afrikan slant on contemporary issues haven't gone unnoticed - now I know you were tutored by the Master himself - and that makes me jealous. Keep it up bro!
There is only one Fela - so any comparisons will only result in disappointment. Femi is a custodian of part of the Legacy and I'd like to think we are too. He and Sowore should kiss and make up like brothers 'cos the cause is stronger when both are united.

Femi is tripping hence the rant. In fact, he has always leveraged, & appropriately so, on his father's fame.
Personally, I am risk averse in Nigeria, & I believe so is Femi- notice that he is will, generally, dwell on African issues rather than Nigerian ones. He has always been more cautious, as was evident in the 80s- whenever he was in charge of the old Shire during Fela's frequent incarcerations.
The question asked by SR is fair & was in fact effective in exposing a sore point- as illustrated by the overly defensive response.
However, we are in reality unfair to Femi & under-appreciating the unique & continuing impact of Baba 70; in attempting the implicit comparison of 2 incomparable. Femi is a successful commercial artiste with a bent for touching on social issues; he is not the socio-political phenomenon & musical revolution that Fela IS.

Nice reporting. Femi overflogged the dead horse, no doubt. But SR is more stupid in this reporting. Has any one of you see trained journalists accuse an interviewee in any way? SR, made an accusation, which is improper..Even, everyday, we watch the news we hear "allege" from reporters and journalists. No one would make a conclusive statement like SR did. people are always in support of SR even when they do wrong. The reporter should have apologised for the accusation immediately Femi pointed it out, but his ego won't let him. It is called "childish Journalism". Femi made his point and i totally believe him.

I think Femi was arrogant with the way he answered SR. Nonetheless, he was right in his response to SR. Anyone truly wants to know how to handle oppressive government should go and learn how ANC in south Africa fought the apartheid regime and brought it down. A lot to learn from their strategies if we Nigerians must get rid of these black apartheid government we have in Nigeria.

Many Idiots on here tend to forget that people like [b]OMOLEYE SOWORE[/b] were the [b]ONES[/b] who lead the Students in during the June 12th Riots.

Some of us carry Scars from June 12 Riots, only for some idiots with no Brains to come here and ask retarded question. Thunder bend una mouths.

[b]SOWORE is doing more for Nigerian Masses than most of you will do in 400 years of your lives on this EARTH.[/b]

@omoyele sowore..... Please don't mind or pay attention to Femi, I can see he is a sissified fellow.

[b]Baba omoyele sowore,[/b] Please remain in New York while exposing the TRUTH about the Nigerian Government. Nigerians all over the world know that if u were to be in Nigeria running this electronic media (Sahara Reporters), the Govt would have truncated your mission years ago. I gathered from Reliable Sources that FGN officials do visit and sometimes comments on write up.

Please keep doing your good work for the betterment of common man like myself and keep propagating the TRUTH ABOUT NIGERIA from your present Base. You are a dogged fighter, A HERO in MY BOOK, and you are doing more than hundreds of those fake ass ACTIVITISTS in Nigeria

[b]OMOYELE SOWORE, I GBADUN YOU, I SOJI YOU TO INFINITY, I SALUTE YOU AND MY RESPECT FOR YOU AND YOUR SACRIFICE FOR NIGERIA NEVER DIES OR DIMINISHES [/b]. I know you will take your rightful place in the History of Nigeria, when it is told.

I actually like the drama. it's just shows that we are as thin skin as ever and the reporter not very precise or not well prepare with the questions. We all going to get better as we get more exposure into our interaction with each other. Thanks SR for getting us to be more candid.

I'll have to agree Femi is really just an average musician, without his father's name. I think he just got caught up in his emotions. I agree Sahara reporters haven't taken even up to 1% of the risks that Femi has taken over the years, but Femi still needs to conduct himself well when dealing with journalists. Journalists will always be journalists, and it's their job to roughen you up a little.
SR too should have just apologized, at least just to feed his ego - the ego he so cherishes -and get some more questions out of him.
Follow our platform for this same struggle on:

Its now obvious to me Femi needs a professional a coaching to understand how to react to questions posed by journalists . The question was very normal and represents how some people feel about Femi in comparison to Fela .. Had the question been asked by a white journalist would Femi had responded with all the rubbish he was blabbing about ??? If he can't handle a simple question how does he expect the Government to handle his criticisms about our leaders . Fela always knew his friends and his foes , he knew how to speak to the press and to people . Femi can do better .

TYPO: sorry, I meant to write "Odu Ifa"

Egos aside, there is matter. Fe.mi's relation to the legacy is not straightforward, and more clarity is needed if Fe.mi (or S.e.un for that matter) wants to carry the struggle forward. Here's another example: in the "Best Best of Fe.la" compilation album released in 2000, two lines were deleted from "Water No Get Enemy" although the track was sold as if unadulterated. Those who have heard the original (1975) release will miss these words in the alleged re-issue:

If water kill your child, na water you go use
Ti omi ba pa o.mo. o. re., omi ni o maa lo

Fe.la's point, which comes from Odu Ife, is that nothing is intrinsically good or bad, unlike what some religions want you to believe. Even water self, it has a negative/destructive side. Na so baba talk, but in censoring his father's words, Fe.mi has apparently taken refuge in goody-goody-ness, and this retreat -- whether motivated by marketing or by psychological issues -- is problematic and should be addressed.

Why is Femi so arrogant? He spoke like he didnt go to school? Why was he flogging a dead horse. He has made his point and should move on but too aggressive? SR you took his wife? Na wa for this one o. Respect to abami Eda Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Fela the intelligent man would have laughed and cracked jokes at the questions Femi shot rockets at. Let him go and re-read his father's story, watch his interviews and learnt from the LEGEND ABAMI EDA. Respect to you Fela. We are all waiting for Seun Kuti. He is the true son of his father. The Fela in the making.

I think some of the comments are grossly unfair to Femi Kuti. I have listened to some of Femi's songs criticizing the government. In any case it is foolishness for Femi to repeat his dad mistakes. Nobody has given Femi credit for staying off cannabis and greedy sexual appetite that destroyed Fela. Femi does not need to be confrontational or get himself clamped in Kirikiri or Gashau to prove any point of being a chip off the dad's block. I feel that S/R reporter got what he deserved for his ignorance and lack of respect for Femi's feelings about what the family suffered in the hands of the military. Comparing Femi Kuti with Sowore is ridiculous and patronising.

Become a fan of [b]Fela Kuti, The Movie[/b] on Facebook - [url]http://www.facebook.com/felakutimovie[/url]

That is the kind of rubbish and expensive shit journalists take to get information. SR should be used to it by now after the Ojo Maduekwe saga. Femi indirectly called SR a fool... Well, Femi did not really go to school. He is somehow ill mannered and may not realise it. Education is the best legacy...;D He is riding on his late father's fame, wouldn't you if you had no education or skills? Don't show such a 'useless' interview in future.

The guy rightfully demanded an apology, but SR cut out the tape right after that. SR should show more tact - they met their match this time.

Mary John is right! Femi is very arrogant and without his father´s fame, he´s actually a very average musician. Why can´t he answer a simple question? Any normal person with a little class would say : "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to let you know about the risks I have taken!........"
But Femi neither has the class nor the dedication nor the consciousness of his late father, with whom I had the pleasure and honour to play! Femi does not understand the intricacies of world politics nor is he very conscious of the ignoble role of White people in the oppression of Blacks! I have met him a few times in Europe, and each time he disappointed me woefully. I was actually ashamed a few times at what he was blabbering on stage! Long live FELA!

Fela and his family including Femi have paid the price for the struggle in tears, blood, lives and sorrow. It's unfair to ask Femi to do exactly what his father did, Fela is Fela and Femi is Femi. Femi is the one repairing the scars left on the family by the army, police and SS. As long as he doesn't join the PDP, I think he remains his father's son. Long Live the Anikulapo Family.

Make una leave the man ojare. he is free to feel, express or say anything he wants. his family deserve that respect at the least

This guy called Femi Kuti has just embarrassed himself here. To me he just proved that he is pompous and arrogant. Simple! Who are you that a journalist cannot ask you tough questions? Femi wants to continue to ride on the glory of his dad, wanting to be reverred like village kings. Let Femi go to CNN and BBC and see how tough pointed questions are posed at the World's best, and how those great people answer such questions with courage and grace.

Femi wants to know why SR cannot come and ask him the same question in Lagos. The simple reason is "because of the struggle." SR takes risks everyday to bring us high profile news, exposing the shaddy deals of the high and mighty in Nigeria and Africa. If Femi Kuti does one-quarter (1/4) of what SR is doing, I am sure, he cannot be as free in Nigeria. Femi Kuti may be your hero, he is definitely not mine. Fela was a hero, Sowore of SR is an hero, Femi is yet to be. Femi Kuti definitely has a lot to learn.

different people,different styles.might not be as direct as his pops but still doing it his own way.way to go Femi

Honestly, I don't know why Femi is crying like a baby over a simple question. I admit the question was unfair, but nevertheless legitimate. You can't expect to get an easy question simply because you are Fela's son.

Sowore and Femi Anikulapo Kuti

Brothers, pls this is just a simple honest misunderstanding.
FEMI KUTI has never wavered from the cause.

SOWORE to has never wavered from the cause. Pls I hope someone close to Femi Kuti is reading this comment. We will love to see Sowore and Femi Kuti speak on phone in a less combative manner and in full solidarity with the common cause and a full appreciation of one another.

The two of you are invaluable assets to the struggle.

I cant imagine some people would say Femi has not taken the risk of facing the Nigeria government. for better information, i will advice everyone to grab femi's album and feel the content of his music and compare to other so called 'naija hip-hop' which is so popular and mis-leading our youth. secondly, please visit the shrine where Femi always have his rehearsal and a free show for Nigerians. simply giving us more information about the black and the failed government.

What other risk do you want him to take?

[b]it will be absurd if these promoters fail to replicate this show in lagos as Femi asserted. Fela lives.........[/b]

Femi (nana) Anikulapo Kuti
As one who has followed the kuti family over the years i give Femi a whole lot of credit for his many achievements .
To be nominated for two grammies is a sign of hardwork and consistency.
However femi has not done much in the area of struggle and confrontation of the forces of evil and darkness as has his father and brother Beko ( who i rate as an unsung Nigerian hero for his clarity of message)
How ever i remain proud of Femi b/c he made a name for him self even when his father was alive.

It will be gravely unfair to expect Femi or any of Fela's other children to try to live up to the high standards set by their father, Abami Eda lived the destiny he chose including paying a very high price for his political views, a price that must have been shared with all his family members.
They were the ones who were without a father when he got arrested and detained, and felt his pain with him the most when he was bitten by Alagbon guys, MOPO or Zombee crew.
It is up to us who loved Fela and his works and owe it to him to support the Family he left behind in whatever endeavor they are engaged in and not expect then to continue the fight, The baton has been passesd on to us and We are the ones who are to continue and finish the fight he started. The movement of the poeple (MOP)