It’s a good thing that the late afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti, didn’t exist in our century, according to Grammy-winning Nigerian artist Burna Boy, since the majority of those who still revere him now would have criticized and demanded his imprisonment.
He said that it was fortunate for him to have lived during the time he did since it allowed him to spread the messages his songs contained.
This was said by Burna Boy, whose maternal grandpa, Benson Idonjie, served as Fela Kuti’s first manager, in an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe that took place recently in New York.
According to him: “What I have realised is that the times are really funny. Fela in his time was going through things that, if he was here today, it might have been a whole different feeling like a whole bunch of people from Nigeria who you see today celebrating Fela, are the same people that would have been tagging the police to go and arrest Fela if there was Twitter then.
“So, at the end of the day, I feel like God doesn’t make mistakes. You know what I mean like the times are just perfect for everyone, you know. If he [Fela] was here today, like his career started now, he may not have the space to explore that [his conscious creativity] because there is too much in this day and age that it just doesn’t interlock with the spirits. Right now, spirituality is almost non-existent.
“Now, it [the society] is just mostly run by stupidity and ignorance. It was still the same back then [during Fela’s era] but it wasn’t as amplified or accessed [as it is today]. Now, everything is defined by stupidity and ignorance.
“I’m grateful for the fact that he [Fela] existed in his time so that we can get an experience of the true organic nature of what he was, the essence of what he stood for and the messages he passed across to us.”