Since Fela died, Felabration has been the light under which Fela’s legacy gets amplified.
Last week, abami eda would have been 83. For the finale of this year’s Felabration, lights are peculiar to everything; life, accreditation, sales, brand amplification and so forth.
In the dark
In the dark of the south entrance to New Afrika Shrine, men of counter-cultural ways perpetrate their business. “Loud, Arizona” is their language of choice – call it advertisement or an invitation to treat.
Along these paths, other people also transacted legitimate businesses of all kinds; food, drinks, money transfer and even ice cream. Also in this dark, two people were reportedly shot – at about 1:00 pm, sporadic shots were fired at the entrance.
Under the spot-light
On your way in, your accreditation is an invisible stamp that can only be verified under ultraviolet rays. These rays will meet you at the entrance to the shrine – call it scrutiny.
More importantly, brands like Chelsea, Nigerian Breweries and Boomplay took the moment to shine New Afrika Shrine lights on their respective brands. The awareness they crave must have been achieved. When you are a Kuti, the spotlight is always on you. The light always confronts every seed of Fela’s loins – children and grandchildren.
On this day, they delivered like they always do. Together, they delivered the performance of the evening. Femi, Femi’s son, Made and Femi’s brother, Seun teamed up for a saxophone masterclass. It was also telling that under the light of the stage, they gave Made the stage to shine.
The hilarious part was when Made held one note for about 10 minutes while his dad and uncle tried to distract him; the pulled his ears, clothes and nose – he didn’t budge. When it was over, Seun and Femi hugged Made for a job well done.
It was both a moment of excellent showmanship and sentimental value.
Before the Kuti masterclass, Nigerian DJ and artist, Cuppy took to the stage to perform hits like ‘Gelato,’ ‘Green Light,’ ‘Work’ and so forth. Also under the lights, Teni picked up from her multiple award winning night at the Headies.
The lights are off at New Afrika Shrine
Fame is a funny thing and for most people, it comes in most moments. As Nigerian singer, Iyanya stepped on stage to perform, the light went off. Some might find it symbolic of Iyanya’s current status in the Nigerian music scene – he is not in the spotlight. He is on the dark side of fame.
When the lights came back on, Iyanya performed hits like ‘Kukere,’ ‘Ur Waist’ and so forth.
As night slowly gave way for day and darkness turned into the morning sun, people were reluctant to leave New Afrika Shrine. The defiance was palpable in the noise that still raged at the Shrine as this writer left.
Fela lives and the light remains with him.