In a recent interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe in New York, Grammy-winning Nigerian singer Burna Boy, expressed the belief that it is fortunate that Fela Kuti, the late afrobeat pioneer, did not exist in this generation.
According to Burna Boy, if Fela Kuti were alive today, many of the people who currently admire him would criticize him and even call for his arrest.
He went on to explain that Fela Kuti’s presence during his time allowed him to deliver the powerful messages contained in his songs.
Additionally, Burna Boy revealed that his maternal grandfather, Benson Idonjie, was Fela Kuti’s first manager.
According to him: “What I have realized 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.”