Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti, a dancer, businesswoman, media personality and the first child of Fela Kuti, the Afrobeat Legend, believes that Nigerians did not realize the importance of her father until his death.
Yeni while speaking on the circumstances surrounding her father’s death, her life as a dancer and her family with media personality and the host of #WithChude, Chude Jideonwo, said her father’s reputation grew after his death despite how bad he was treated by the Nigerian government and its citizens while he was alive.
Undoubtedly, Fela Kuti remains one of the greatest Nigerians that has ever lived. The late Afrobeat legend and cultural icon dominated the world like a colossus.
22 years after his death, Fela Kuti’s legacy has continued to grow, thanks in part to his children who have worked tirelessly to keep his memory alive.
Yeni, in this heart-to-heart interview with Chude, said, “It amuses me. I remember that Fela was in jail and my cousin Dotun introduced me to this girl. He said, ‘These are my cousins, ‘Yeni and Sola’ and she said, ‘Don’t introduce me to such people’. It stuck in my mind, I moved away from her, and I just thought to myself, ‘How nasty?’ I’m sure if I met that girl today, she would want to be my friend.
“That is why it is amusing that decades later, Fela is suddenly the hero while in those days, he was the villain.”
Speaking on why she thinks the change happened, she said, “I think ‘their eye don clear, suffer don hook us for Nigeria’. We have seen that there was at least one person who was singing about the abuse and fighting it. Fela used to take out an advert then on Daily Times that later became Punch, every Saturday. He would tag it, ‘Chief Priest says’, and he will write something about Nigeria. He had a printing press, where he would just print and yab all of them. Of course, it took death for them to realize that they had lost something important.”
Yeni also shared about joining Your View on TVC, she said, “I have been trying to work on a TV program with my best friend, Carol King. We had gone to meet MITV and showed them what we wanted to do but we couldn’t get it off the ground. Then Lukman Musa called me to say that he wanted me to do a TV show, and because it sounded like what Carol and I were working on, I went, we talked, and I accepted. I think it is a good decision and I do not regret it for one minute. People have now come to know me as Yeni, not just as Fela’s daughter or Femi’s sister but as Yeni Anikulapo Kuti”.
Watch the excerpt here: